The Grand Smash Could Become the Next Modern Classic

Pretty much everyone wants to be on the right side of a trend. Of course, there are seasonal swings in the cocktail world: Margaritas shine in the summer, hot toddies take over once temps drop. If you’re in the business of serving drinks (or you’re just a casual fan of cocktails), it helps to be prepared for when your guests start craving certain flavors. However, there are also those once-in-a-blue-moon moments when a certain craze becomes huge: think Cosmos in the ’90s, or, more recently, the explosion of espresso Martinis.

With that in mind, it’s understandable that bartenders and aficionados are always looking for the next big thing, or the cocktail that could be included in the modern pantheon of must-try drinks. Allow us, then, to humbly suggest the Grand Smash. Using the classic-yet-complex Grand Marnier as a base, the drink focuses on the key notes of citrus, mint, and Cognac. Although the flavors are accessible, the Grand Marnier gives the drink a more luxurious feel. 


2 parts Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
4 lemon wedges (or 2 parts fresh lemon juice)
4-6 mint leaves
Soda Water (optional)

Garnish: Mint 


  1. Muddle lemons and mint in a shaker. (If you cannot muddle, shake mint with fresh lemon juice.)
  2. Add Grand Marnier and ice and shake.
  3. Pour into an ice-filled rocks or Collins glass and garnish with a mint sprig.
  4. Top with soda water.

Don’t believe us? Just ask Paige Walwyn, Chicago-based bartender and well-honed recipe developer. “Using Grand Marnier in a Grand Smash allows for a more complex cocktail and a more expansive range of flavors,” she says, giving the liqueur credit for elevating a simple recipe. “The introduction of Cognac, bitter orange, and time in French oak adds a new layer of depth that pairs amazingly with other spirits and citrus,” she adds, giving a nod to the production process that includes barrel-aging and macerated green orange peels.

Walwyn’s recipe throws a twist into the Grand Smash, incorporating lavender to emphasize the herbal notes and accentuate the lemon juice. Acidity and sweetness are balanced out, with Cordon Rouge being the central ingredient that keeps things in harmony.


1 1/2 ounces Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1/2 ounce lavender simple syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice
3-4 mint leaves
3-4 grapefruit slices (quartered)
Brut sparkling wine (optional)

Garnish: Mint sprig and grapefruit slice


  1. Combine Grand Marnier, lavender simple syrup, mint, and grapefruit slices into a shaker and muddle.
  2. Add lemon juice.
  3. Shake with ice.
  4. Dump into a rocks or Collins glass.
  5. Top with sparkling wine (optional).

Alex Hazen Floyd, a bartender in New York, also contributed his take on the Grand Smash, a berry-focused version that plays perfectly for the end of summer. His Berry Smash combines blueberries and raspberries with ginger in a recipe inspired by tiki cocktails. “I originally encountered Grand Marnier in a Mai Tai made at my first bar job by an early mentor,” he says. “It’s nostalgic for me.” With the Berry Smash, he’s looking to play up the fruity flavors, smokiness of Cordon Rouge, and the twist of Amaretto: “The orange and almond flavor combination is one of my favorites, so it’s great to be able to explore that with this cocktail,” he says.


2 ounces Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge
1/2 ounce Amaretto
1/2 ounce lemon juice
4 sprigs of mint
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
3-4 blueberries
3-4 raspberries

Garnish: Mint and berries


  1. Muddle lemon juice, mint, ginger, berries.
  2. Add ice, Grand Marnier and Amaretto.
  3. Shake. Pour over ice in a rocks or Collins glass, double strain if desired.
  4. Top with soda water.
  5. Garnish with skewer of mint and berries.


This article is sponsored by Grand Marnier


Words: Stephen Rubino
Editor: Andrea Morabito
Art Director: Clara Shader-Seave
Photographer: Robert Bredvad
Prop Stylist: Marina Bevilacqua
Food Stylist: Spencer Richards
Producer: Becca Solovay

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