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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Grilled Pineapple Whisky Smash

Grilled pineapple lends this whisky smash a distinctive summer twist. Thank you to for helping me share this cocktail with you.
Grilled Pineapple Whisky Smash
Although it may not say it on the calendar, summer seems to have officially set in. Bright, sunny days that beg for lake excursions, pool parties, impromptu sessions around the grill, and often beating a path to the nearest shade tree. What's one thing that can enhance each one of these options? A cold drink, glass sweating right alongside you in the heat.

But do you think whisky when you think summer cocktails? Perhaps not. I'd say it's most often considered a warming drink. I admit to wanting a nip of whisky to warm my bones on a cold day. But it also goes really well over ice, which opens it up and invites a host of flavors to drop by for a summer get-together.

Today I'm sharing a whisky cocktail made using George Dickel NO. 12® Tennessee Whisky. George Dickel chills their whisky before they filter it through sugar-maple charcoal, which filters out oils and acids, because they believe that whisky made in the winter is smoother than whisky made in the summer. No. 12 is aged longer than their Classic No. 8 blend, resulting in richer oak flavors. With subtle hints of vanilla, maple, and smoke, the resulting whisky is somewhat sweet and extremely easy to drink.

When I decided to make a summer cocktail from No. 12, I wanted to play up the flavors of the whisky itself. I'm particularly fond of the smoky undertones, and what better way to highlight those than to incorporate the grill that's inevitably present all season long?
George Dickel No.12 Tennessee Whisky
You could really take this in any direction with your choice of fresh fruit. I chose pineapple because I love the way the sugars caramelize over high heat, adding a deep layer of smoky caramel flavor. But if you have peaches, apricots, plums, or even cherries—go ahead and throw those on the grill.

After grilling the pineapple, I let it cool before dicing it up and piling into the bottom of a rocks glass to act as the base for my "smash" cocktail (a cocktail with fruit smashed, or muddled, to release the juices that always has plenty of ice). If you're a stickler for tradition, you could add some mint to the mix, but I chose to defy tradition use some nutmeg instead. I finished building on the flavors of the No. 12 by adding some maple simple syrup to the mix, but it could easily be left out if you think it would be too sweet for your liking.

The next time you have friends or family over for a summer cook-out, be sure to grab some fruit and set up your own grill-side bar station. Cheers to summer cocktails!

Grilled Pineapple Whisky Smash
Grilled pineapple lends this whisky smash a distinctive summer twist.
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Grilled Pineapple Whisky Smash
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Keywords: grill beverage vegan alcohol pineapple whisk(e)y

Ingredients (serves 4)
Preheat your grill (gas or charcoal) to medium-high heat.

Using a sharp chef's knife or serrated knife, slice the top and bottom off of the pineapple, then peel it. Cut four 1/2-inch thick slices (rounds) from the pineapple; use the rest of pineapple as needed.

Once hot, oil your grates with a little vegetable oil or spray it with nonstick grill spray. Set the pineapple slices onto the hot grate, cooking until you have nice grill marks, then flip and repeat, about 3-4 minutes per side. Promptly remove to a cutting board. Cut the pineapple slices into 1/4-inch chunks.

Divide the chunks of grilled pineapple among four glasses and muddle to release the juices. Add enough crushed ice to fill each glass halfway. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice, then add whisky, simple syrup (if using), and a few grates of fresh nutmeg (the pineapple is pretty sweet, so if you like your cocktail less sweet, you can decrease or omit the simple syrup).

Shake until cold, then pour into glasses. Top off with club soda, and grate a little more nutmeg over the top.

Enjoy immediately, with the smashed grilled pineapple as a treat at the end of your glass.
Grilled Pineapple Whisky Smash

Grilled Pineapple Whisky Smash