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,' fresh mint, and lemon. A touch of housemade almond syrup and blueberry preserves finish the mix off perfectly.
This recipe is from Jason Rogers, a bartender in Washington DC, printed here with permission.
Add remaining ingredients and fresh ice.
Shake vigorously to fully mix the preserves.
Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint and serve.
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.
- Almond syrup - The ingredient that deserves a bit of explanation is the homemade almond syrup. You can follow an easy recipe for a flavored simple syrup. The only flavoring that is required is almond extract.
- Beyond this cocktail, you can use then use this syrup as a substitute for amaretto syrups to sweeten coffee and to give that rich amaretto flavor to other non-alcoholic drinks.
- 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. We 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." We 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. We followed suit. 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. We recommend a lighter mash as chunkier fruit is a major difference between jams and preserves.