Mardi Gras is just around the corner, so we thought that a fun, New Orleans-inspired cocktail would be the perfect way to celebrate the occasion. As usual, we turned to none other than the fabulously-talented Colleen Jeffers from the cocktail blog GOOD DRINK for one of her crowd-pleasing creations.
Inspired by one of New Orleans’ most popular desserts, impress your guests this Mardi Gras with a delicious Bourbon Street Smash!
- 2 oz banana-infused bourbon (recipe below)
- 1 oz banana syrup (recipe below)
- .5 oz fresh squeezed and strained lemon juice
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pinch of salt
- Combine 2 cups banana chips with 2 cups bourbon in a container and seal tightly. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring occasionally, then strain with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag over a fine mesh sieve.
- Combine 2 cups water, 2 cups cane sugar, and 2 sliced bananas in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours, then strain with cheesecloth or a nut milk bag over a fine mesh sieve. Store in the fridge.
For the Cocktail
1. Cut a 1-inch piece of vanilla bean and muddle it in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
2. Add ice, bourbon, syrup, lemon, bitters, and salt.
3. Shake hard for 10 seconds, then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.
4. Top with additional crushed ice and garnish with a freshly-grated cinnamon from a cinnamon stick.
5. Nestle the cinnamon stick in the ice, serve, and enjoy!
- Bourbon Street in New Orleans is the most iconic spot for Mardi Gras revelry.
- This cocktail is inspired by one of Bourbon Street’s signature dishes: Bananas Foster (but don’t worry, you won’t have to light it on fire!).
- The cocktail marries rich banana flavor with the caramelized, oaky notes of bourbon and freshly grated cinnamon.
- The ‘smash’ comes from muddling real vanilla bean in-shaker.
- Start your bourbon infusion and banana syrup a couple of days before you want to serve your smash, so they’re ready to go when you are.
- I like to garnish the glass with edible gold flakes to play up the party factor. You can find them online or in specialty stores (just use a food-dedicated paintbrush to carefully place them onto the glass).
- The tasty cocktail definitely pairs well with King Cake, donuts, and beignets!
Colleen Jeffers is a cocktail stylist, photographer, and recipe developer based in Portland, OR. Find her simple, seasonal recipes on the @colljeffers feed or the Good Drink blog.