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!

Apple bourbon cocktail on a white marble surface garnished with apple slices and cinnamon stick

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. 

Apple bourbon cocktail on a white marble surface garnished with apple slices and cinnamon stick

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.
Apple bourbon cocktail on a white marble surface garnished with apple slices and cinnamon stick

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.

More Apple Cocktails to Try

Our Apple Cider Margarita is an absolute must for the early days of fall! It’s cozy yet refreshing.

Pair apple cider with a fruity red wine to make our Fall Apple Cider Sangria!

Apple Bourbon Smash

4.56 from 9 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Yield 2 cocktails
Category Drinks / Cocktails
Author Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen


This Apple Bourbon Smash is the perfect cocktail for any fall or holiday party. Made with juicy Honeycrisp apples, honey, and warm spices, this bourbon smash is packed with fall flavor. Plus, you only need 5 ingredient to shake this apple cocktail up!


  • 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.


Can’t find Honeycrisp apples? Try Pink Lady, or Fuji. 


Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Apple bourbon cocktail on a white marble surface garnished with apple slices and cinnamon stick

Pin This Recipe

Love this recipe and want to save it? Pin this recipe!

Pin This Recipe


Share it with the world


About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 3 stars
    Too much lemon juice, overwhelmed the flavor of the apple. I had to add more honey to balance.