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If you’re looking for powerful, fruity, and refreshing all rolled up into one glass, look no further. This blueberry gin smash is both a sweet thirst quencher and packs a tangy, herbal punch. The best part is it achieves all this with all natural ingredients – no added sugar.
This smash uses gin as the base, with maple, elderflower, lime, and mint. Of course it will be best served during the summer. Try it whenever you have fresh, local blueberries in stock.
That said, I’d like to make the case that it’s a great crowd pleaser all year long, even with frozen berries. It’s bold and sweet enough to for most people to easily drink down all the way, yet aromatic and complex enough to appease the cocktail aficionados in your life. A perfect balance!
Making an amazing blueberry gin smash
I had to experiment a lot to get the right colour and flavour for this, but I’m very happy with how it came out. I have to give credit here: I got the idea to add maple syrup from an article in the Alchemist (@thealchemistmag on Instagram). They are an independent BC-based mixology outlet. I borrowed heavily from their aesthetic for the presentation of this drink, though I made a few changes which I thought really elevated the aroma and flavour.
I started my first blueberry smash with about 5 blueberries. This is what most recipes I read called for. Think about that for a second: unless you have giant wild berries, that’s really not a lot to work with. What I got was a light, translucent reddish drink instead of the potent purple or red that I was used to seeing. It tasted more like that berry infused water you might buy at the grocery store…
There had to be another way.
And there was. I arrived at 12 berries, more or less depending on size. More definitely does not hurt if you have space in the glass for it. It is a smash cocktail, which means don’t hold back when you make it. Muddle those berries in the glass ’till they are smashed and release as much of their juices as possible.
Elderflower: I put that shit on everything
A lot of smash recipes I’ve read that incorporate gin bolster it with some vermouth. On its face, that seems like an intuitive combination. After all, we see it in everything from the Martini, perhaps the most iconic of drinks, to the bitter-sweet powerhouse that is the Negroni. However, I just couldn’t make it work.
I tried quite a few different dry and blanc vermouths. I thought Lillet Blanc, one of my favourites to play around with, might be good. It has a fragrant bouquet with notes of orange. But the drink felt quite flat with it.
All I had to do was switch to St. Germain instead. Elderflower, often called “bartender’s ketchup” for it’s sheer ubiquity, really does the job here. It has a more syrupy flavour and texture. It’s sweeter than vermouth but plays nicely off the botanicals of the gin and the sugary earthyness of the maple. I think it adds the perfect touch to the blueberry gin smash.
Picking the right base spirit
My gin of choice for this drink is Hendrick’s. For me, it is the best because it is a happy medium between a classic dry gin and a really out-there botanical expression. It has a certain sharpness, and enough juniper to see the resemblance to a London dry. Its signature additions of cucumber and rese petal water are well balanced in the mix of 11 botanicals.
Of course, I’m not a salesperson. I just love this gin. If you have a gin you absolutely love, use that instead. I’ve also seen variants done quite often with vodka, and other smashes such as those with blackberries often incorporate tequila or bourbon. So, I won’t stop you if you want to go wild.
The final product is amazing: the gin is immediately felt alongside the summery blueberry and sweet maple. It is floral and zesty without too much acidity. Using lime juice rather than smashing citrus along with the bluberries makes for a bolder, more flavourful drink. If you want even more zest you can grate lime or orange peels on top of your drink when serving (more on that below).
Blueberry Gin Smash
- Bar Spoon
- Muddler (you can also use a wooden spoon)
- Serving Glass
- Small ice cubes or chunks
- Jigger/measuring cups
- 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) gin Hendrick's or your preferred botanical gin
- 1/2 oz (15 ml) elderflower liqueuer or cordial St. Germain
- 1/2 oz (15 ml) maple syrup
- 1/2 oz (15 ml) lime juice freshly squeezed
- 12+ blueberries, to muddle plus more to garnish
- 1 dash Angostura bitters or aromatic bitters of choice
- 1 dash orange bitters or zest part of an orange peel over the drink
- soda water to taste
- mint leaves to garnish
- Gather your ingredients. For best results, squeeze fresh lime juice just before mixing.
- Muddle the blueberries with lime juice inside the glass. Don't be afraid to smash them up a bit, as the name of the drink suggests.
- Add the other liquid ingredients (except soda) and a generous amount of ice. Stir together until you get a uniform red-purple colour in the glass.
- Top with soda and stir gently to mix the flavours around.
- Garnish with mint more blueberries as desired. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by! If you like this kind of article, why not check out some of my other cocktail recipes as well?