The classic bourbon smash gets an autumn upgrade with the addition of juicy Honeycrisp apples, honey, and some warm spices. Incredibly easy to make, this five-ingredient apple bourbon smash is perfect for any fall or holiday party!
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What Is a Bourbon Smash?
The bourbon smash is a classic cocktail (dating back to the 1800s) that is often made with bourbon (surprise!) lemon juice, mint, and simple syrup. However, the bourbon smash isn’t limited to just those four ingredients—you’ll find all sorts of variations and flavor combinations of this age-old cocktail.
Key Components of a Bourbon Smash Cocktail
- Bourbon, that should be obvious. Does it have to be bourbon? No, any whiskey will work.
- Use in-season fruit. Classic smash recipes call for citrus, but use whatever you like and is in season. For this recipe we use both lemon juice and apples.
- Add some kind of sugar or simple syrup. Here we use honey in place of simple syrup for its added flavor.
- An additional flavoring such as an herb or spice. You’ll often find bourbon smashes made with mint, but for this recipe we kept it cozy using nutmeg, cardamom and a cinnamon stick for garnish.
- Ice. Whether you serve the bourbon smash over ice or shake/stir it then strain it out, ice is always used one way or another when making this classic bourbon cocktail.
How to Use Apples in Cocktails
Some apples are better suited for cocktails that others. Keep in mind, flavor is king when it comes to using apples in cocktails because you won’t be using very much apple. Choose apples that are big and bold in flavor, like Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, or Fuji.
Secondly, it’s best to choose apples that are pretty juicy. (Although there’s definitely a time and a place for dry, tart Granny Smith apples in cocktails.) In general, choose apples that are fairly juicy. Stay away from Golden Delicious (not a whole lot of flavor) and Red Delicious varieties.
Apple Bourbon Smash
- ½ honeycrisp apple, roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces fresh lemon
- Grated fresh nutmeg
- Pinch ground cardamom, optional
- Apple slices and cinnamon sticks for garnish
- Muddle apple and honey in a cocktail shaker until completely smashed and liquid is released.
- Add bourbon, lemon juice, a few grates of fresh nutmeg and a pinch of cardamom. Fill shaker with ice and shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled.
- Fill rocks glasses with ice and strain cocktail into glasses, garnish with a few more grates of fresh nutmeg, an apple slice, and a cinnamon stick, if desired.