5 Smashing Cocktail Recipes for Summer
Need to add some excitement to your summer cocktails? It’s time to smash it up, with some of my favorite twists on the classic cocktail! First appearing in the 1840’s, the traditional Smash is a simple cocktail of mint, sugar, and any liquor. At its height in the 1850’s it became one of the country’s most popular cocktails, but sadly our little Smash fell into decline over the years. Thankfully, with the meteoric rise of mixology, the Smash has made a blazing comeback, and is on cocktail lists around the country. Get out your muddler, It’s time to start smashing!
Summer is a great time for a Smash because fruits and herbs are so fresh and delicious!
1. Aperol Grape Smash
I’m going to tell you something, and you have to believe me. This cocktail might be one of the most drinkable (and I mean dangerously good) on planet Earth. I first discovered this gem on the yacht docks in San Diego. (No, most unfortunately I was not ON a yacht.) I wanted something refreshing, yet with a “Calgon, take me away effect.” When I tasted it, I was suddenly looking at boats in Portofino, Italy. The Aperol Smash is now my Calgon cocktail.
– 1 oz Aperol
– 1 1/2 oz Stoli vodka
– 3-4 green grapes
– small handful of mint leaves
– 1/2 oz lemon juice
– 1/2 oz agave nectar
– club soda
Either slice your grapes or break out the elbow grease for a hard muddle! Join the grapes, mint, lemon juice, & agave nectar & muddle. Fill your glass with ice. Add Aperol & Stoli. Give it a good shake. I like to present this cocktail in a tulip or wine glass. It’s that special. Top with a splash of soda & a few mint leaves.
One of my taste testers, after trying this cocktail shook his head, and said, “This just isn’t fair. Alcohol isn’t supposed to taste that good…is it?” Make up a batch of this for your next summer cocktail party or brunch, & your guests will be begging for more.
2. Blackberry Whiskey Smash
Hands down, this is my new favorite whiskey cocktail! Growing up in North Carolina, picking blackberries off the vines around my Papaw’s farm, and with whiskey being my first spirit love, this cocktail is a nostalgic nod to my Southern upbringing. The Whiskey Smash was invented in 1862 by “Professor” Jerry Thomas, who by many, is considered the father of American mixology. Traditionally, the cocktail is Bourbon whiskey, mint, simple syrup, & lemon. Sounds delicious enough? Now just imagine with fresh, juicy blackberries muddled in. It’s a dream come true.
– 1 1/2 oz Bulleit Rye
– handful of mint leaves
– 4-5 blackberries
– 3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
– 1/2 oz agave nectar
– splash of club soda, if you like
Gently muddle blackberries with mint leaves, agave, & lemon juice. Fill your glass with ice. Top with Bulleit Rye. Give it one or two firm shakes, no need to get jiggy with it. Top with soda or serve as is. Garnish with a few mint leaves.
Whiskey lovers, welcome to your new summer fling.
3. Strawberry Basil Gin Smash
It’s probably fair to say I eat my weight in strawberries. Much like Bubba in Forrest Gump with shrimp, I believe strawberries should go in anything from risotto to balsamic vinegar to dessert. And now with the surge of beautifully crafted gins on the market, this cocktail is meant to be!
– 1 1/4 oz Junipero or craft botanical gin
– 5-6 slices strawberries
– 1-2 basil leaves (depending on size)
– 2 wedge squeezes of lime
– A few drops of balsamic vinegar or syrup
– 1/2 oz agave nectar
– club soda
Muddle strawberries, basil (be careful not to overmuddle and bruise leaves), lime, & agave. Add a few drops of balsamic. Fill glass with ice, & add Junipero. Give it a good shake, making sure all of the ingredients mix. Top with soda.
It’s a beautiful cocktail, bursting with red & green, with the botanical notes of the gin in a dance with the basil & strawberry. This cocktail is a summer melody.
4. Watermelon Tequila Smash
Summer = watermelon. Summer = Tequila. I’m about to make your picnics & beach parties a lot more fun. Be warned though, this one is potent! Two big words of advice. 1. Use very ripe, juicy watermelon. As a mild melon, if it isn’t flavorful, your cocktail won’t taste like anything but tequila. 2. Use a high quality blanco. If you skimp, you will hate yourself, and maybe me.
– 1 oz Dobel blanco tequila
– Dark pink, ripe watermelon
– 2 wedges lime
– 3/4 oz agave nectar
– club soda
Gently muddle watermelon and lime with agave nectar. Fill glass with ice. Add tequila. (note the pour is lower on this, because of the mildness of watermelon. You don’t want to overwhelm your cocktail.) Give it a good shake. Now, if you like flotsam in your cocktail, top with soda and be done. And most smashes, I say leave as is. But watermelon gets mealy, and I don’t want a mealy cocktail! I recommend straining over fresh ice into a nice tulip glass or a traditional margarita glass, then topping with soda.
Not a tequila fan? Substitute a high quality vodka, and up your pour to 1 1/2 ounces if you like.
5. Blueberry Rum Smash
Get ready to go on your siesta! This drink has been lovingly referred to by fans as “a vacation in a glass.” So close your eyes, imagine you are on the island of St. John, looking out at crystal-blue water, holding your Rum Smash, and smile.
– 1 1/2 oz 10 Cane Rum brown sugar
– small handful of blueberries
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 3/4 oz lemon juice
– thinly sliced lemon and extra blueberries
Gently muddle the blueberries, brown sugar, & lemon juice. We don’t want to annihilate the blueberries, we just want to release the juices! (I dare say massage them.) Fill your glass with ice. Add rum, and give it a good shake, dissolving the sugar and melding the flavors. Top with your favorite ginger beer. (You can use ginger ale in a pinch, but trust me, the beer is tops.) Garnish with a thin lemon slice and a spike of blueberries.
Ahh, now go to your island happy place.
Until next time, have a smashingly good summer! Cheers.
What are your favorite summer cocktails? Tell us in the comments below.
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com