The Smash Cocktail Trend, an Interview with Mixologist Mishka Bier
What are they? How to Make a Smash? What do Mixologists Do?
Introducing Mishka Bier, Mixologist
I hope you enjoy my interview with Mishka Bier, a Southern California, award-winning mixologist from Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. He joined me to discuss the popular Smash cocktail trend. As a background on Mishka, he was part of a team at the bar, “Old Lightening,” honored for best new American bar in 2016, “Tales of the Cocktail.”
Mishka and I are discussing the Smash cocktail trend, its origins, and how to make them. He has shared below two recipes for Smashes, a Blackberry Bourbon Smash and an Enzoni Smash made with gin and Campari. Mishka also shares with us what he does for Southern Glaziers, the largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States. He tells us about his mentors in mixology, and how he got into this business. See downloadable transcription of the interview below or simply click on this YouTube link to view our brief interview.
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What is a Smash?
What is a smash? The ingredients are variable and seasonality flexible. The Smash is made with muddled mint (or basil, for example) – much like a Mint Julep, with fresh muddled fruit, spirit, sugar, and served over crushed ice. This is one of our older American cocktails, as the Whiskey smash was invented in the 1887 edition of “The Bartenders Guide” by Jerry Thomas. According to Mishka Bier in the interview above, Los Angeles started the current United States “Smash Trend” about a decade ago.
What is a muddler?
You must muddle the fruit and mint! A muddler is an essential bar tool designed to smash and mix (called muddling) drink ingredients. Using a muddler, and muddled ingredients, essentially a bartender's pestle, is one of the best ways to infuse the flavor of fresh fruits and herbs into your drinks. It's easy to learn how to muddle, and this basic technique will let you mix several popular cocktails, including the Caipirinha, Mojito, and Old-fashioned. Find a Muddler here. Muddlers can be made from wood, plastic, or steel.
Mishka Bier’s Recommended Smash Recipes
Blackberry Bourbon Smash
· 2oz. Makers Mark
· 3 lemon wedges
· 3/4 oz. honey syrup
· 7 mint leaves
· 3 blackberries
Instructions: Muddle blackberries and lemon into cocktail tin, add muddled mint and throw in tin. Add rest of ingredients with ice, shake and dump into glass.
1 oz. Roku gin
1 oz. Campari
3 lemon wedges
¾ oz. simple syrup
5 red grapes
Instructions: Add grapes and lemon wedges into tin and muddle. Add rest of ingredients into tin. Dry shake without ice. Dump all into empty double “Old Fashioned” glass. Top glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a straw and lemon wedge.
Download a transcription of the February 2022 interview with Mishka Bier and Tricia Conover, Editor.
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