How to Make a Bourbon Smash
With a handful of readily available ingredients, customizable sweetness, and easy prep, a Bourbon Smash is a great cocktail for one, two or a crowd.
The best Bourbon Smash Cocktail
Today, I’m sharing my favorite Bourbon Smash recipe – a timeless cocktail that is all about the balance of sweet, sour, strong and sippable.
I’ll give you directions for how to make it the classic way, as well as ways to make it your own using ingredient variations like Meyer lemons and vanilla.
Why you will love this Bourbon Smash Recipe
- Easy Prep. Uses just a handful of readily available ingredients and a few straightforward steps.
- Customizable Sweetness. Use the simple syrup to tailor the sweetness level of this cocktail to your liking.
- Make One or a Whole Bunch. The recipe card below makes one cocktail, but it’s easy to make two, four, or even a dozen at once.
Bourbon Smash Ingredients
- lemon slices – for each drink, you’ll need two slices of lemon, each about 1/4-inch thick. You’ll want to remove the seeds from the slices so your drink doesn’t end up bitter.
- bourbon – the soul of this cocktail, it provides a rich and complex base flavor. More on choosing the best bourbon below.
- simple syrup – this is the sweetening agent for this drink. You can buy a bottle, or make your own by heating 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Cool it and store it in the fridge.
- mint sprigs, for garnish – this enhances the visual appeal of the drink and adds a bit of aromatic essence as well.
What is the best bourbon for whisky smash?
In my opinion, the best bourbon for a bourbon smash cocktail (and almost all bourbon cocktails, really) is Bulleit bourbon (the classic orange label variety). It has a very clean and smooth flavor, and is versatile for just about anything you want to make with it.
Some other great choices are Woodford Reserve, Maker’s Mark, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses.
Make it a Vanilla Bean Bourbon Smash
Add a hint of vanilla by using vanilla bean simple syrup instead of regular simple syrup. Here’s how to make it:
- In a small saucepan, combine a vanilla bean that has been split lengthwise in half, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup 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.
How to make a Bourbon Smash Cocktail
- MUDDLE. Place the lemon slices in a cocktail shaker and muddle them until they are broken down.
- ADD. Add the bourbon and simple syrup to the shaker.
- SHAKE. Fill the shaker 3/4 of the way with ice and then shake vigorously until very cold.
- STRAIN. Fill a double old fashioned glass with fresh ice and strain the drink over the ice.
How to serve this Bourbon Smash Recipe
Serve this whiskey smash in your prettiest double old fashioned glass. Garnish the drink with a mint sprig and an additional lemon slice or wedge.
Use Meyer Lemons instead!
If you’re reading this between December and May, Meyer lemons should be in season and available at grocery stores. Use these sweet, floral lemons in place of regular lemons for a seasonal twist on a bourbon smash drink.
Bourbon Smash Drink FAQs
While both a bourbon smash and bourbon sour incorporate bourbon and citrus, the difference is in how it’s made. A bourbon smash features muddled fresh citrus slices, while a bourbon sour typically uses fresh lemon juice.
A standard bourbon smash contains 2 ounces of bourbon, delivering a kick to balance the muddled lemon without overpowering the citrus flavor.
Both cocktails feature bourbon and mint. But, the mint julep has much more emphasis on the cooling, minty flavor of the herb, thanks to the mint being muddled as the first step of the recipe. A bourbon smash is typically only garnished with mint, or the mint is shaken with other ingredients in a cocktail shaker, but not muddled.
- 2 lemon slices (1/4 inch thick), seeds removed, plus additional lemon slice or wedge for garnish
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- Mint sprig, for garnish
- Place lemon slices in cocktail shaker and muddle until they are broken down. Add bourbon and simple syrup.
- Fill shaker 3/4 of the way with ice and shake vigorously until very cold.
- Fill a double old fashioned glass with fresh ice and strain the drink over the ice. Garnish with mint sprig and additional lemon and serve immediately.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g
This website provides estimated nutrition information as a courtesy only. Nutrition information does not include any optional ingredients or toppings. You should calculate the nutrition information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.