So Chad the Elder a few months ago tantalized us with talk of a mysterious and wonderful drink called the Ten Thyme Smash. Describing the drink as "what may very well be the best new cocktail that I've had in years," the Elder went on to pronounce the Ten Thyme Smash "absolutely sublime and completely delicious." The problem: Although the drink appears on the menus of fine drinking establishments across America, the recipe is nowhere to be found. At least, not easily and certainly not online.
With the help of Monkey David and Dr. Zaius, last week I successfully mixed the Ten Thyme Smash. And Chad is right: It's a great drink. Perfect for the Summer of Gin.
The Bank in Minneapolis describes the Ten Thyme Smash as "refreshing and sophisticated -- fresh thyme, cucumber and lime shaked with ultra premium tanqueray ten gin and white cranberry -- the perfect apertif."
Sounds easy enough. And it is! I used the raspberry-thyme smash as my baseline. Instead of raspberries, it's a simple matter of muddling thyme with cucumber. I found that adding the lime juice expedited the process nicely. Fresh ingredients are vital. So is a muddler. Tanqueray Ten, however, is optional. I call the variation a "Tanq Thyme Smash." Here's the recipe.
Strip leaves from the thyme sprigs. Place leaves in a shaker with two thickish slices of cucumber. Add the lime juice and muddle. Fill shaker with ice and add gin and white cranberry juice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass (pictured) or ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice.
A couple of notes: I didn't peel the cucumber. There might be a certain bitterness in the peel that affects the drink. I like bitter, but tastes may differ. Zaius and David didn't seem to mind, but my wife and David's much better half, Carrie, didn't enjoy the drink as much as they liked the raspberry-thyme smash. To each her own.
Also, the hard-core cocktailians will be appalled, I suppose, that I used store-bought Ocean Spray White Cranberry, rather than pressing the juice by hand. Most drinkers, I'll wager, will notice the organically grown thyme, the fresh-squeezed lime juice and the cucumber over- and undertones. Honestly, the cranberry is largely subsumed by the thyme, lime, cucumber and gin.
An impromptu variation: Substitute three torn basil leaves for the thyme, reduce the lime juice by a quarter of an ounce and add a capful of orange curacao, and, if you like, an extra splash or two of gin and white cranberry. I threw this together about an hour ago on a whim. Worked for me. I would encourage our dozen or so readers to try both versions and let me know what they think.
Other posts in the Summer of Gin series (so far):