Moonshine and brandy in the same drink, is that possible? It is and Washington D.C. Bartender Jason Rogers has proven it in this delightful cocktail he calls the French Quarter Smash.
The drink is actually very simple. The recipe requires whatever moonshine you can get your hands on, a 'fine brandy' and fresh mint and lemon along. A touch of housemade almond syrup and blueberry preserves finish the mix of perfectly.
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lemon wedges with almond syrup until all of the juices and oils are extracted.
- Add remaining ingredients and fresh ice.
- Shake vigorously to fully mix the preserves.
- Double strain into an old-fashioned glass with one large ice cube.
- Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint and serve.
More Tips for Making a Great French Quarter Smash
Moonshine. It seems like it would be a difficult find or that you have to scour the backcountry of Kentucky to find it, but it is actually becoming quite popular on the legal market.
There are some fascinating brands of this unaged corn whiskey available now and I recommend giving as many a try as you can find.
Rogers suggested in his contest submission that "If you don't have access to the real thing, Virginia Lightning or Midnight Moonshine works." I did not have access to either of those brands and used Manhattan Moonshine and the drink was a dream, unlike anything you would expect from a shine cocktail.
For the brandy, Rogers did go into the 'fine' category by choosing E&J XO and I followed suit with that suggestion as well. It is the top of the line for the popular California brandy and at under $20 a bottle, is a perfectly affordable option for this and almost any brandy cocktail.
The blueberry preserves are another unique element that we do not often see in cocktails and you have to admire their effect. The cocktail requires a bit more shaking to ensure that the preserves are properly mixed, though the texture that results from using them is spectacular.
If you have blueberries in your garden, you might think about using homemade blueberry jam as well. I would recommend a lighter mash as chunkier fruit is a major difference between jams and preserves.
Almond Syrup Recipe
The last ingredient that deserves a bit of explanation is the almond syrup. Rogers provided his recipe for this easy flavored syrup and the only flavoring that is required is almond extract.
- 1 cup of raw sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 teaspoons of organic almond extract
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
- Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in almond extract.
- Taste for the desired potency and once reached, remove from heat and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
(Recipe Courtesy: Jason Rogers, Bartender in Washington DC)