StrawBaBal Smash – Alabama Whiskey, Birmingham Bartender

Our Birmingham bartender line up was recently asked to create a cocktail program for a fake wedding. “A fake wedding?” you might ask. Yes a fake wedding! The national wedding showcase, The NotWedding, contacted us with the challenge of entertaining and refreshing clients from all over Alabama. The event was based on a highend wedding theme at Bridgestreet Gallery and Loft, and was packed with event and wedding goers. I was also happy to hear our good friends over at High Ridge Spirits were on board as well!

High Ridge Spirits is accredited with the first distilled spirit crafted in Alabama since prohibition….I forgot to mention “Legal”, first legal distilled spirit crafted in Alabama since 1915. And what better spirit to start out with. Whiskey. Not just any whiskey, a 100% rye unaged whiskey, with locally sourced mash and water from the now infamous Bullock County. Infamous for all the backwoods moonshine stills that continue to litter the area. This ‘Shine, however, gets the care and attention to detail its deserves without having to look over their shoulders for all those pesky G-men.

This spirit I must admit, is a little bit of a challenge. Rye can be quite a spicy grain and it can overpower an unsuspecting palate. So the challenge of toning down the spice while also incorporating its profile into the cocktails was a bit daunting. However, being part of the USBG Birmingham, we had dozens of resources to pull from. I was particularly interested in the vegetal pairings with the kick and decided on working in some ingredients I’ve been using on the culinary side for quite some time. The name may seem a little goofy to start, but it makes sense when you see the main modifying flavors come from strawberry, basil, and balsamic vinegar. Get your fix, Bama.

StrawBaBal Smash

1.5 oz Stills Crossroads ‘Shine
3 Strawberries (hulled)
3-5 Thai Basil leaves
1 barspoon Balsamic Vinegar (or to your liking, I like 2 barspoons)
.25 oz Alabama Honey Syrup (1:1)

1. In a shaker tin, muddle strawberries and honey syrup together down to a puree.
2. Rip basil leaves in half and add to shaker tin.
3. Add ‘Shine and vinegar to the mix and shake the dickens out of it.
4. Really…shake that thang!
5. Strain through a tea strainer over a ice.
6. Garnish with strawberry and basil. Serve with candied pecans.
7. Enjoy your fake wedding….

For more recipes and clever cups and humble hooch, check out our Birmingham bartender recipes at

© 2012 The Barhops | Birmingham Web Design | Great New Day old