Sour lemons and fresh mint are muddled with sugar to form the base of this classic Whiskey Smash recipe. Think you don’t like whiskey? Think again!
No, you don’t get to throw a bottle of whiskey against the wall. I know you’re really disappointed, but save that kind of craziness for another day.
A whiskey smash is named for the sweet muddling action that goes on between the sugar, lemon, and fresh mint leaves. Think “flavor orgy.”
Whoa, I took that one a little far, didn’t I?
Maybe it’s the whiskey.
In case, you wanted to know. The whiskey smash, which some also call the bourbon smash, is a citrus smash with bourbon whiskey, muddled lemon wedges, sugar, and muddled mint leaves.
This whiskey drink first appeared in 1887.
It’s a thing of beauty, isn’t it? Like a grown-up version of a snow cone, only better because whiskey.
Serving up a whiskey smash drink really couldn’t be any easier. You can even do it after you’ve had one or two, which is very important from an entertaining perspective.
First, we throw some stuff in a glass. You could do this in a cocktail shaker, but mason jars are just really trendy right now so you should probably make it in a mason jar.
Next, smash the stuff up with a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon).
Once it’s all good and smashed, go ahead and throw some whiskey in there. I used Jameson because it’s almost St. Patrick’s day and I wanted an excuse to bring a bottle of Irish Whiskey into the house.
Put a lid on the jar (or shaker), and shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Serve it straight out of the mason jar, or pour it into something faaaaancy.
Top with crushed ice (method: put ice in blender) and garnish with a sprig of mint.
I forbid you to make this whiskey recipe if you aren’t going to garnish it with a sprig of mint.
It’s like a mint julep without all of the hard work of infusing and waiting around forever. I want my whiskey drink, and I want it NOW!
History of the Whiskey Smash
The Whiskey Smash has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. It first appeared in “Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide”, the renowned cocktail manual published in 1887 by the legendary barman himself. In the 1700s and onwards, the concept of ‘smashing’ or muddling ingredients was commonplace in the creation of whiskey cocktails, hence the name “Whiskey Smash.”
The resurgence of the Whiskey Smash in the cocktail scene is attributed to Dale DeGroff, also known as “King Cocktail.” During his tenure at the famous Rainbow Room in the 1990s, DeGroff brought back many classic cocktails, the Whiskey Smash included, revitalizing them with fresh ingredients and premium spirits.
Variations of the Whiskey Smash
The beauty of the Whiskey Smash lies in its versatility. It’s a cocktail that invites experimentation and is easily modified to suit your taste.
A popular variation is the Whiskey Sour Smash, where ½ to 1 ounce of simple syrup is used in place of white sugar, and lemon peel is used as garnish. Add a dash of fresh lime juice to this mix, and you’ve got a citrusy delight. Remember, the balance of sweetness and tartness is key in this cocktail. If you find it too sweet, add more lemon juice. If it’s too sour, add a bit more simple syrup. As always, feel free to adjust the proportions to best suit your palate.
The Manhattan Smash introduces the richness of vermouth into the equation, giving a sophisticated spin to the classic. Add 1 ounce of sweet vermouth when you add the whiskey in this recipe. Optionally, garnish with a cherry and a sprig of mint.
For a fruity twist, try muddling fresh strawberries, blueberries, or peaches in place of or along with the lemon. This will result in a refreshingly sweet and tangy drink that’s perfect for summer.
Additionally, switching out the whiskey can create an entirely different cocktail. For example, using Canadian whiskey in place of bourbon can offer a smooth and slightly sweeter flavor profile.
Straining: Whether you choose to strain or double-strain your Whiskey Smash depends on your texture preference. If you prefer no pulp or mint leaves in your drink, double-strain it into your rocks glass.
Simple Syrup: Using simple syrup instead of granulated sugar can make the drink smoother and easier to mix.
Muddle Mint: Be careful when you muddle the mint leaves. You want to lightly press to release the aromatic oils without tearing the leaves, which can lead to a bitter taste.
Swizzle: After adding crushed ice, swizzle the cocktail a bit to mix the ingredients. This chills the drink evenly.
Garnishing: Use spearmint for a lighter, sweeter mint flavor. Also, consider using a swath of lemon peel or a couple of fresh berries for a pop of color and flavor.
Remember, the best whiskey cocktails come from experimentation and personalization. Don’t be afraid to play around with your Whiskey Smash and make it your own.
Save it to Pinterest and Share with your Friends!
How to Make a Whiskey Smash
- 3 tablespoons mint leaves - about 7 or 8 leaves
- half of one lemon - cut into four pieces
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 ounces whiskey
- 1 cup crushed ice
- Place the mint, lemon, and sugar in a cocktail shaker. Muddle together until the sugar has dissolved and the lemon has expressed its juices.
- Add the whiskey, cover, and shake for 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to an Old Fashioned glass.
- Top with crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.
This whiskey smash cocktail recipe is often misspelled as a whisky smash recipe or wiskey smash recipe.
Enjoy Responsibly. This post and recipe are intended for those of legal drinking age.