Happy Memorial Day Weekend! The unofficial start to summer is starting off a bit rainy here in the south, but we make do by drinking colorful cocktails indoors. I also feel a bit ill-prepared for this summer season and would rather continue living my life in leggings, a sweatshirt, and full-powered AC for a few more weeks. Who needs shorts and sundresses and bare shoulders? You can find me snuggled into the couch, binging on Wild Wild Country with a blanket on my toes, a cold cocktail in my hand, and happy as can be for the rest of May.
Recognizing that I am the odd-ball in my Memorial Day celebrations, I will pretend that I am fully adjusted to North Carolina summers and present to you a fruity summer beverage! I always lean in to fruit-forward drinks during the warmer months and anything with a berry or a ton of lime will always get my attention.
This little concoction is lovingly called the Honey B Smash. The B represents blackberries and bourbon. Blackberries are some of my favorite summer treats because they can make your mouth pucker up just in the slightest and then finish off sweet. They can also hold their own in a cocktail and compete with other flavors without getting lost. Bourbon is a great liquor to use here because it has vanilla and caramel notes, which compliment the tart berries. I also mellow out the cocktail with some honey simple syrup. I prefer honey simple syrup here over a granulated sugar-based one because we are using bourbon. I think you get a more complex flavor rather than just added sweetness!
The trick to this cocktail is the combination of muddled fruit and stirred liquor. First, you want to slice up some thin rounds of lime for each glass and place them in the bottom with a few mint leaves and whole blackberries. Then use a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon to crush the berries into the leaves and lime slices. Muddle until the berries are just broken down, but do not crush the mint into little pieces. We just want to release some of the juices from the fruits and really smell that mint. Then in a separate glass, you want to combine the honey simple syrup and bourbon with ice and stir for 10 seconds or until the glass is cold. Add crushed ice over your muddled fruit and then pour in your liquor mixture! And yes, please please please crush your ice. This is a smash after all. Lastly, add a lime round and mint leaf and you have the perfect Honey B Smash.
As a note – I do not strain my blackberries and I leave the muddled fruit in the bottom of the glass because I prefer it this way and do not find the few seeds that may come through to be unappealing. If you absolutely HATE berry seeds, you can strain out the liquid from your muddled berry/mint/lime mixture and just use that in combination with the honey and bourbon.
The Honey B Smash
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 (can easily be adjusted for more)
- Handful of blackberries
- 2 limes
- 1 bunch mint leaves
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces honey simple syrup*
- Crushed ice
*See note at bottom about making your own honey simple syrup before you begin creating your cocktail.
Slice six rounds of lime and place three in the bottom of each glass. Add 4-5 blackberries and 2-3 mint leaves on top. Lightly smash/muddle the fruit and leaves together until the berries are just broken down. Fill glasses with crushed ice. Set aside.
Mix two ounces of honey simple syrup and four ounces of bourbon in a separate glass with ice and stir for 10 seconds or until the glass is very cold. Strain the liquor mixture into your prepared glasses of fruit and ice. Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice, a lime round, and a mint leave. Do a little stir, suck it down, and feel refreshed enough to make another!
*I make my own honey simple syrup and it stores in the fridge for about one month. I usually make one cup at a time and combine 1/2 cup good-quality honey and 1/2 cup water. Any 1:1: ratio works so you can scale up or down as needed. Set the mixture on top of the stove and stir until hot. Remove when the mixture is completely liquid. Do not allow it to boil, you only want to heat everything up. Then, set aside to cool before adding into your cocktails and store remaining liquid in the fridge. This same process can be used with white granulated sugar to make a regular simple syrup.