Simple, yet special, recipes for the home chef.

Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash

Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash |

You guys didn’t think I would just throw down a Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake and then forget about Meyer lemons, did you? Not even close. I’ve been putting them in nearly everything, including some Meyer lemon bars with a special crust – that recipe coming up this Sunday! However, my stash of Meyers is dwindling and I’m OK with saying goodbye to them for another year. But, I had to make a quick cocktail first.

Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash |

My original plan was to make Meyer Lemon Old Fashioneds, but my friend Susan beat me to it. She did such a beautiful job that I didn’t want to compete. What else could I make with Meyers and bourbon? I had a few extra vanilla beans around, so I decided a quick vanilla bean simple syrup would be a lovely complement to the tart sweetness of the lemons. You can keep a batch of this syrup in the fridge for up to a month, to be used in all sorts of cocktails and desserts, as well as this Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash. Cheers!

Update: On 11/6/14, this recipe was chosen as a Community Pick in Food52′s “Your Best Cocktail” contest and professionally photographed by Mark Weinberg:

Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash |

Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash

Yield: Enough simple syrup for about 8 cocktails

Prep Time: 10


For the Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:

  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise and scraped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water

For the Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash (1 cocktail):

  • 1/4-inch-thick slice of Meyer lemon
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
  • 4 dashes orange bitters
  • Club soda


  1. Make Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup: In small saucepan, combine vanilla bean, sugar and water. Simmer over medium heat 5 minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let stand at room temperature until completely cool. Remove vanilla bean and discard. Transfer syrup to airtight container and refrigerate up to 1 month.
  2. Make Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash: In rocks glass, muddle lemon slice. Add ice, bourbon, Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup and bitters; stir. Top drink off with club soda.

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10 Responses to “Meyer Lemon-Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash”

  1. Jane's Adventures in Dinner — March 25, 2014 at 10:16 am

    Ok, you mix-up a batch of these and I’ll make a REALLY spectacular chicken wings recipe for us.


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — March 25th, 2014 @ 10:23 am

      Oh, that sounds like SO much fun! Why doesn’t one of us own a private jet? 🙁


  2. Sophia Del Gigante — March 27, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    OMG this sounds AMAZING! Can you buy the bitters or mayve even make then? Also wondering if I can use vanilla bean paste instead?


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — March 28th, 2014 @ 1:13 am

      Hi Sophia! I bought the bitters (Angostura brand) at the grocery store – they are widely available. I’m sure you could make own. I would suggest just Googling “homemade orange bitters.”

      Also, you an absolutely use vanilla bean paste! I use it all the time as a substitute for a vanilla bean. My jar of vanilla bean paste says that 1 Tablespoon paste = 1 vanilla bean, so just sub that in in this simple syrup.


  3. Nancy — April 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Nice job, girl! I love how my blogging friends keep my life super boozy! This sounds so delicious. I need to make that vanilla simple syrup!


    • Lori | Foxes Love Lemons replied: — April 2nd, 2014 @ 12:58 pm

      Oh, you must make it! I’ve been using it in place of sugar cubes in regular Old Fashioneds, and it’s so good. I think bourbon already has a vanilla-ish quality to it, so this kind of enhances that.

      Don’t you just love all of the creative cocktails bloggers come up with?


  4. Emily — April 9, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    So, I improvised a little bit.  I was looking for a cocktail to make on the spot.  I used Lemonade in place of the fresh lemon and simple syrup, threw a splash of vanilla extract in, and I had the rest of the ingredients.  So good!!  I can only imagine what it tastes like with fresh ingredients!


    • Lori Yates replied: — April 13th, 2015 @ 4:27 pm

      Good “bartending” is all about working with what you’ve got, right Emily? I’m so glad you gave these a try!


  5. Jennie @onesweetmess — April 15, 2015 at 10:04 am

    How did I miss this gorgeous cocktail recipe? I’m completely ashamed. Well, I’m here now and this is gorgeous! Oh, and it’s totally happening. 


    • Lori Yates replied: — April 15th, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

      Well, you’re here now, and that is ALL that matters, Jennie! I whip this drink up all the time when I buy too many Meyers. But it works great with regular lemons, too!


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