Valentine’s Day inspires images of chocolate, flowers, and strawberries. It is the latter ingredient which we shall discuss today. Strawberries dipped in chocolate, however, isn’t the only way to enjoy the fruit despite the commercials you’ve no doubt seen. Strawberries can also make a splash (or shall we say “smash”) in cocktails. For some of you in the south, you’ve already spotted them at farmer’s markets and in your gardens. If you can find wild strawberries, by all means, use them. The smaller the berry, the sweeter the juice and the gargantuan strawberries found at the supermarket pales in comparison. If you can’t find any berries at all, you may substitute preserves for fresh fruit.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Moreno
MAKING THE POTRERO HILL STRAWBERRY SMASH
Looking back at our post on Muddled Drinks, you’ll see where we’ve discussed Smash cocktails. They are quite versatile drinks which incorporate whichever fruit you like along with your herb of choice. After a visit to the edible rooftop of the Anchor Distilling Tasting Room in Potrero Hill, San Francisco, I was quite inspired to create a smash. Wild strawberries looked ready to be eaten so they were chosen along with a bundle of fresh thyme. Anchor Distilling’s Junipero is the brand of the gin I used for the drink.
Junipero celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. When it first hit the market in 1996, it was seen as a bold move creating a craft gin in the US. Looking at today’s spirit landscape, they were clearly ahead of the curve. Junipero is a London Dry style gin and its botanicals (which have only very recently been disclosed) include anise seeds, cardamom, cassia seed and grains of paradise in addition to dried Seville and sweet orange peels. Junipero with its high proof and juniper-forward backbone make it a great choice for a smash.
– 1.5 oz Junipero Gin
– ¾ oz lemon juice
– ¼ -½ oz simple syrup (this will depend on sweetness of your berries so do a quick taste test)
– 3-4 small wild strawberries (can sub 1 large standard strawberry or tbsp Wild Strawberry Preserves)
– 2 sprigs thyme
Add strawberries and thyme to mixing glass. Muddle gently. Add remaining ingredients and ice. Shake and double strain* into cocktail coupe glass.
*Double straining is a method of fine straining a cocktail. Pour drink after shaking using Hawthorne or Julep strainer into the fine mesh strainer to catch any seeds/sediment/ice flecks.
Making your own cocktails at home? You’re going to need some liquor for that!