It is a well-known fact around here that we love history and booze. We are especially partial to boozy history – so when we heard that Boston Harbor Distillery was launching in a newly restored warehouse building in Dorchester’s Port Norfolk neighborhood, our interest was definitely piqued.
Then we saw what kind of spirits they were making, and we started making plans to visit immediately. After watching them tease gorgeous images and little reveals for months, they are finally open today! (Check out their schedule here.)
We want to salute them in style, so we turned to Drinking Boston: A History of a City and Its Spirits by Stephanie Schorow. We chose a classic cocktail that showcases one of their signature spirits—Putnam New England Whiskey—and also reflects the era of their new home, the 1859 S.S. Putnam Nail Factory building. We are making them a Whiskey Smash!
Drinking Boston—which tells the history of Boston through the lens of alcohol and the places that make it or serve it—pays special attention to this time period, calling it the golden age of cocktails. We are lucky enough to have a direct window into that world through “Professor” Jerry Thomas’s 1862 book How to Mix Drinks (that’s him above, setting spirits on fire with a Blue Blazer). In it we learn that the “Smash” category of drinks was one of the most popular cocktails of the time.
Whiskey Smash (taken from our very fun Drinking Boston glossary)
One of the most popular cocktails from the “Smash” category, this Whiskey Smash is made with muddled mint, rye or bourbon, and served over ice cubes. The drink is then decorated with an orange slice, cherry, and a lemon peel twist and is served in an Old Fashioned glass.
Modern take on the Whiskey Smash:
¾ oz. simple syrup
2 sprigs mint
2 oz. American whiskey
- Muddle the lemon with the simple syrup and the leaves of one sprig of mint.
- Add the whiskey and ice.
- Shake and strain the mixture into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and garnish with the other sprig of mint.
It’s with a big hearty CHEERS and congratulations that we raise our whiskey smash to Boston Harbor Distillery. We look forward to drinking your wares soon!
Want to learn more about the history of drinking in Boston? Of course you do! Drinking Boston is available via our website; online through Amazon or Barnes & Noble; or at your favorite local bookstore if you live in the Greater Boston area – if they don’t have it in stock they’ll be happy to order it for you!