Whiskey Smash Cocktail Recipe

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Whiskey Smash Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Whiskey Smash is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 1800s. It is a variation of the popular Mint Julep and was created by Jerry Thomas, a famous bartender of the time. The Whiskey Smash is a favorite among whiskey lovers and those who enjoy a refreshing, fruity cocktail.

  • The Whiskey Smash has been enjoyed by many famous figures, including President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • It has experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years, thanks to the craft cocktail movement.
  • The Whiskey Smash is often served at Kentucky Derby parties as an alternative to the traditional Mint Julep.

How Whiskey Smash Tastes?

The Whiskey Smash is a refreshing, slightly sweet, and citrusy cocktail. It has a strong whiskey flavor, balanced by the tartness of lemon and the cooling effect of fresh mint.

Interesting facts about Whiskey Smash

  • The Whiskey Smash is sometimes called a 'cousin' of the Mint Julep, as both cocktails feature whiskey, mint, and sugar.
  • The name 'smash' comes from the technique of muddling, or 'smashing', the ingredients together to release their flavors.
  • The Whiskey Smash can be made with various types of whiskey, but bourbon is the most common choice.


Whiskey: 2 oz

The whiskey is the cornerstone of this cocktail, providing a robust and warming base. Too little, and you won't feel the hug of the spirit; too much, and you'll overpower the delicate mint and lemon. No whiskey means no Whiskey Smash, so don't even think about it!

Emma Rose

Lemon: 0.5

Half a lemon brings zesty brightness to the drink, offsetting the sweet and aiding in digestion. Ditch it and you'll lose the sunshine in your glass. If life hands you limes instead, use them for a twist on tradition.

Alex Green

Fresh mint leaves: 6-8

Mint adds a cool, fresh counterpoint to the whiskey's heat. Fewer leaves and you might as well be drinking in the desert; too many and you're in toothpaste territory. No mint? You'll miss the point of a 'smash'.

Mary Mitkina

Sugar: 0.5 oz

The sugar sweetens the deal, rounding out the edges of the tart lemon and the bite of the alcohol. Skimp on it and your puckered lips might get stuck; dump a sugar bowl in, and you're at a kid's tea party.

Emma Rose

Water: 0.5 oz

A touch of water helps dissolve the sugar and brings harmony to the ingredients. Leave it out and you're left with a rough ride down Flavortown. Overdo it, and you've got a cocktail pool party with no lifeguard on duty.

Alex Green

Crushed ice: 1 cup

Ice keeps the drink cold and dilutes the mixture to perfection. Without enough ice, your drink won't have the chilling effect it's famous for. Too much? It's more like a whiskey slushee.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Whiskey Smash Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine the lemon, mint leaves, sugar, and water.
  2. Muddle the ingredients together to release the flavors of the lemon and mint.
  3. Add the whiskey and fill the mixing glass with crushed ice.
  4. Stir the mixture until well combined and chilled.
  5. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  6. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a lemon wheel.

Pro Tips

  • Use fresh ingredients. Fresh lemon and mint will make a big difference in the taste of your Whiskey Smash.
  • Don't over-muddle. Over-muddling can make your cocktail bitter.
  • Use good quality whiskey. The whiskey is the star of this cocktail, so make sure it's a good one.

Perfect Pairings

Barbecue Dishes

Whiskey Smash pairs wonderfully with the smoky flavors of barbecue. Ribs or pulled pork with a side of sweet and tangy barbecue sauce will mirror the bourbon's caramel notes and balance the acidity of the lemon.

Spicy Foods

The cooling effect of the mint contrasts nicely with spicy dishes, like buffalo wings or a spicy Thai salad. The cooling mint and zesty lemon can alleviate some of the heat, while the whiskey stands up to the bold flavors.


Desserts such as lemon bars or mint chocolate chip ice cream complement the citrus and mint in the cocktail, making for a refreshing after-dinner treat.

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What you could change in Whiskey Smash

  • Whiskey: You can use bourbon, rye, or even a Scotch whisky if you prefer.
  • Lemon: Try using lime for a different citrus twist.
  • Sugar: If you don't have sugar, you can use simple syrup or honey.

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And of course - twists🍹

Blackberry Whiskey Smash

Add a handful of blackberries to the muddle for a fruity twist. Their deep, sweet flavor complements bourbon's richness while adding lovely color.

Ingredients: 2 oz whiskey, 0.5 lemon, 6-8 fresh mint leaves, 0.5 oz sugar, 0.5 oz water, 1 cup crushed ice, a handful of fresh blackberries Recipe: Muddle the blackberries along with the lemon, mint leaves, sugar, and water. Follow the standard recipe from there.

Rye and Ginger Smash

Swap out the whiskey for rye and add a splash of ginger beer for a spicier, fizzier drink that tingles the taste buds.

Ingredients: 2 oz rye whiskey, 0.5 lemon, 6-8 fresh mint leaves, 0.5 oz sugar, 0.5 oz water, ginger beer, 1 cup crushed ice Recipe: After muddling the lemon, mint, sugar, and water, add the rye and ice, then top with ginger beer.

Honey Bourbon Smash

Forego the sugar and use honey for an earthier sweetener. The floral notes of honey dance with the mint and whiskey in a smooth, harmonious blend.

Ingredients: 2 oz bourbon, 0.5 lemon, 6-8 fresh mint leaves, 0.5 oz honey, 0.5 oz water, 1 cup crushed ice Recipe: Muddle the lemon and mint with honey and water. Stir in the bourbon, add to the glass with ice as before.

In case you forgot basics how to make Whiskey Smash

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Whiskey Smash

What is the best time to enjoy a Whiskey Smash?

The Whiskey Smash is a perfect cocktail for summer days, but it can be enjoyed at any time of the year. It is also a great choice for parties and get-togethers.

Can I change the amount of alcohol in the Whiskey Smash?

Yes, you can adjust the amount of whiskey to your taste. However, be aware that increasing the whiskey content will also increase the strength of the drink.

What are some good types of whiskey to use for a Whiskey Smash?

Bourbon is often the whiskey of choice for this cocktail, but others like rye whiskey or Irish whiskey can offer unique flavors as well.

Are there any special tools needed to make a Whiskey Smash?

You need a muddler to extract the flavors from the mint and lemon, but apart from that, basic bar tools like a mixing glass and a cocktail stirrer are enough.

What kind of food pairs well with a Whiskey Smash?

The Whiskey Smash pairs well with a variety of foods like grilled meats, seafood, or spicy dishes due to its refreshing nature.

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