Instead of hard liquor, we use an herb- and fruit-infused rosé wine to make this strawberry smash for a delightfully lighter summer cocktail. The result is at once delicate and vibrant with notes of rose and coriander against a background of sweet, ripe berries. It's also easy to make and versatile, too.
What is it?
A smash is a cocktail made with fruit, herbs, liquor, and a bit of sugar muddled together, then strained, mixed with water and served over ice. It's a fresh drink - lightly sweet and definitively fruity with an herbal undertone. Versions of smash cocktails have been popular since the 19th century, and the drink has an interesting history, and is related to the mint julep.
What's in it?
While smashes are seasonal cocktails with immense flexibility and variability, there are a few distinct ingredients you'll find in most versions: fruit, spirits, herbs, a source of sugar, and ice. For this strawberry smash, you'll start by muddling strawberries, rose, coriander and honey together with rosé wine which gives the cocktail a decidedly lighter spirit. It also makes a lovely summer cocktail, made when strawberries are in full season.
I developed this recipe using the Rose Rosé by Haus. It's a wine-based apéritif of rosé infused with fruit and herbs, making a perfect base for this cocktail - and a nice, lighter alternative to strong liquors.
Part of the appeal of the smash is that it's both flexible and easy to make. Unlike baking, measuring by eye and adjusting for taste work well in making this cocktail. It's simple and easy, but here's a few things to keep in mind.
- Use ripe, unblemished strawberries. Remember that your cocktail will taste only as good as the ingredients that go into it, so save your less-than-perfect berries for strawberry sauces and compotes, and use ripe, sweet berries that are free from soft spots or other blemishes.
- Use unsprayed edible rose petals. Roses grown for the floristry industry are often sprayed heavily with toxic chemicals, making them unsuitable for food use. So use edible, unsprayed roses. If you don't grow them yourself, you may be able to find them at a farmers market or forage for them yourself.
- Embrace the seasonality and flexibility of this recipe. While you can follow this recipe precisely (for delicious results), allow yourself a little flexibility to make adjustments - tasting as you go. Part of the charm of the smash is its seasonality and variability.
Strawberry Smash Recipe
- In a quart-sized jar, muddle the strawberries, honey, coriander, rose petals, and rose water (if using) together with lime until the fruit releases its juices. Then pour in the rosé a little bit at a time, continuing to muddle the fruit and herbs with the wine until well-combined. Strain the smash into a small pitcher.
- Fill 4 tumblers with ice, pour the strawberry smash evenly into the glasses, adding sparkling water as needed to serve.
For a boozier version, try substituting bourbon or brandy for a portion of the rosé.
Swap peaches, cherries or other berries for the strawberries. Stone fruit and berries work well here, and both are in season during summer months.
Swap the rose petals for another herb that you like. Basil and mint both work well with strawberries.
Substitute sugar for honey, or omit it entirely if you prefer an unsweetened cocktail.