On the first look, the Poitín Basil Smash looks super familiar. And yes, reduced to its visuals, it appears almost like a regular Gin Basil Smash. However, tastewise there's quite a difference.
Besides interchanging the Gin base with Poitín, it also calls for a different sweetener. Instead of regular simple syrup, it requires a delicate honey syrup.
Poitín, or Poteen, is a relatively new ingredient for cocktails. On the one hand, this is odd because the first Poitín had been produced as early as the 1600s. On the other hand, it's only logical because Poitín was banned in Ireland for a long time.
Today, there are more and more Poitín products entering the market. If you want to give it a go, choose one from our list of the best Poitíns to try.
Ingredients of a Poitin Basil Smash
You don't need many ingredients for this cocktail. Yet, to get the right color and consistency, you need to muddle your basil well.
The components for the Poitín Basil Smash are:
- Fresh lemon juice
- Honey syrup
- Fresh basil leaves
The crucial step for achieving the vibrant green color is muddling the basil leaves.
You combine the leaves with freshly squeezed lemon juice and muddle them until the liquid turns bright green.
After that, add all the other ingredients and ice and give it a good shake.
What is Poitín?
Poitín is an Irish distilled spirit, traditionally made from malted grains, and is sometimes also called poteen or potcheen. The latter is the closest to the correct pronunciation: puh - cheen.
Today, Poitín is not only made from grains but also from potatoes or cereals. The spirit must contain a minimum of 40% ABV but can contain up to 90% of alcohol.
Poitín is a traditional product that has been distilled since the early 1600s. It's also known as "Irish Moonshine."
The spirit is currently in the middle of a renaissance as Poitín was banned for more than 300 years and is only back on the market since 1997.
Read more about the history of the Irish Moonshine and why it got banned in this guide to Poitín.
More about Smash cocktails
Smash cocktails are closely related to Mint Juleps. But while a Julep gently stirs its mint leaves, the smash is a more aggressive approach.
The Smash cocktails history goes all the way back to the 1840s. Shortly after their first appearance, Smash cocktails made with whiskey or brandy were literally everywhere.
Historian David Wondrich stated that at the peak of popularity, "everyone seemed to spend the warm months of the year with a Smash glued to their hand…".
The drink is prepared by strongly muddling, shaking, and smashing the mint leaves with its ingredients. That creates a slightly bitter taste as mint leaves release bitter notes when treated roughly.
For a long time, this was the main difference from a Julep. However, in modern interpretations, smash drinks are made with citrus, muddling fruit, or other herbs like basil.
A twist on the Gin Basil Smash
One of the most popular Smash cocktails is the Gin Basil Smash. The now world-famous cocktail was invented in Hamburg, Germany, in a bar called Bar Le Lion.
- 2 oz Poitín
- 0.75 oz Honey syrup
- 0.75 oz Lemon juice
- 12 Basil leaves
- Add basil leaves and lemon juice into your cocktail shaker and start muddling. Muddle the mixture until the liquid turns bright green.
- Add Poitín and honey syrup together with ice and shake until well-chilled.
- Double-Strain into an ice-filled chilled rocks glass and garnish with more fresh basil leaves.
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