From the mid-1840s until after the Civil War, the smash was America’s favorite mixed drink. Called by Jerry Thomas “a julep on a small plan,” the smash is a simple-but-delicious cocktail that emphasizes fresh ingredients, minimal preparation, and bold flavors. It’s the perfect style of drink for the summertime.
A smash is usually composed of a base spirit (whiskey, rum, brandy, gin, etc.), fresh fruit or herbs, and lots of crushed ice. It is meant to be cold and refreshing, a little liquid treat. Traditionally this was a small drink, intended to be quaffed quickly. But like most of us, it’s gotten bigger over the years.
I set out to make a drink with great summer flavors — tequila and watermelon go wonderfully together — and to ensure that anyone could easily make one at home. Nothing fancy here. But it’s still delicious.