Monday, September 25, 2017

brandy smash no. 2

1 jigger Brandy (2 oz Copper & Kings American Brandy)
a few sprig Mint
1 lump Sugar (1 demerara cube)
a little Water (3/8 oz water)

Dissolve sugar in a mixing glass with a little water. Add mint and press gently with a muddler. Add brandy and shaved ice, stir, strain into a Champagne glass with a mint sprig stem down, and trim with fruit. Add a dash of Jamaican Rum (1/4 oz Smith & Cross) before serving. Note, I strained the unchilled mixture into a Champagne glass and filled with crushed ice; my fruit was 3 slices cucumber and I added a straw.

While so many Smashes these days include an herbal element such as the traditional mint, they also include citrus wedges or juice that were not in the classic. Therefore, when I spotted the Brandy Smash series in George J. Kappeler's 1895 Modern American Drinks, I decided to give it a go. Brandy was the original call for many of the upperclass Juleps served in the Colonial days of America for American whiskey was not very prevalent and rum was somewhat looked down upon. After the Revolution, whiskey began its ascent to take over as the preferred Smash and Julep call, and brandy began to fade in the early part of the 19th century. Jerry Thomas in 1862 differentiated between the Julep and the Smash by calling the latter "simply a Julep on a small plan." David Wondrich described in Imbibe how the Smash was a quick bracer often served without a straw and hit its heyday in the 1850s. While Jerry Thomas' Smashes included crushed ice, Kappeler's did not. Both Juleps and Smashes were referred to as "Mint Slings" so serving them without crushed ice back in the day would not be off by this definition. Kappeler's Brandy Smash No. 1 followed Thomas' recipe (save for the lack of ice in the serving vessel), but the No. 2 included a garnish of Jamaican rum which is what lured me in. I decided to split the difference for I could not parse the garnishes of a mint sprig and fruit trim served that way without ice as a base (plus, the chilled ingredients would only half fill a Champagne glass).
The Brandy Smash No. 2 began with the aroma of Jamaican rum funk accented by mint and smoothed by cucumber. Next, the sweet sip offered caramel derived from barrel-aged notes, and the swallow displayed brandy and mint flavors with hints of Jamaican rum creeping in over time. The float of funky Jamaican rum is something that I have included in many of my Juleps both whiskey- and brandy-based. For example, in summer 2016, one my bartender friends turned liquor sales rep texted me to see if he could swing by with the assistant distiller Travis from Copper & Kings to show off the product line. I cheekily texted back that they could swing by my place for Juleps for I was not scheduled to come into work that day. Five minutes later, I got a text back that they were on their way. I immediately began making simple syrup in the microwave and ran out to harvest mint for their arrival. I utilized their brandy adding my touches of the Jamaican rum and freshly grated nutmeg as additional garnish to the mint bouquet. The photo taken by either my rep or the distiller shows me floating the rum.
Brandy Julep (Fred's home recipe)
• 2 oz Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy
• 1/2 oz Cane Crystal Simple Syrup
• 8 mint leaves
Muddle mint in syrup in a double old fashioned (or Julep cup). Add brandy, fill with crushed ice, and stir. Garnish with mint sprigs, freshly grated nutmeg, and float 1/4 oz Wray & Nephew Jamaican Rum.

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