The classic Bourbon Smash! Year-round, no matter the occasion, this sweet-tart bourbon cocktail is always a hit. Even the non-bourbon drinkers will like this one. Made with a hearty dose of lemon and fresh mint, this refreshing cocktail is simple in concept yet dimensional in flavor.

What you’ll need for a Bourbon smash:

  • Lemon wedges
  • Bourbon
  • Fresh mint sprigs
  • Simple syrup or maple syrup
  • Crushed ice
image of a cocktail shaker, bottle of whiskey, maple syrup, lemon wedges and fresh mint arranged on a marble table.

How to make bourbon smash 

  1. This classic cocktail comes together quickly and easily, here’s how simple it is: 
  2. Drop three lemon wedges into a cocktail shaker and muddle until juices are released, about 10 smashes. 
  3. Add the mint leaves and muddle just to release the flavor, about 8 smashes. 
  4. Add bourbon and maple syrup (or simple syrup), fill shaker with ice, secure second glass or lid and shake vigorously until chilled, about 15 seconds. 
  5. Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice, strain bourbon smash over ice and garnish with mint. And that’s it, the perfect cocktail!
grid of four images showing process of making cocktail. Adding lemon, muddling lemon, adding mint.
grid of four images showing process of making cocktail. muddling mint and lemon, adding bourbon, adding maple syrup.

How to make crushed ice at home

Unless you have an ice machine that crushes ice for you (go you!) you’ll need to crush some ice. There are a few ways you can crush ice at home but my favorite way is to pop some in a blender and give it a few pulses. The sound is earth shattering, but it makes the process simple and clean.

Before I pulse up my ice, I’ll place a bowl in the freezer to chill. Once the ice is crushed I’ll pour it into the chilled bowl, give it a quick fluff so it doesn’t stick together and place it in the freezer until I need it. The method isn’t perfect, but it’s the easiest way to do it at home. 

overhead image of two bourbon smash cocktails on a marble countertop

Barware you’ll need:

Cocktail shaker—I prefer a good ‘ol restaurant shaker (aka Boston Shaker) over the very classy looking shakers with a lid (Cobbler shaker). Why? They’re far easier to use and create less mess. Once you get the hang of using a Boston shaker, you’ll never go back to the Cobbler shaker and the constant struggle of a stuck lid. I prefer a classic Boston shaker with a metal cup and a glass cup, but you can also find tin-on-tin Boston cocktail shakers with two metal cups.

Muddler—so you don’t need a muddler but you’ll need something that resembles a muddler. If you don’t have one on hand you can use the handle of a wooden spoon.

Rocks Glasshaving a nice set of rocks glasses is essential in my opinion. Yes, you need them for a Bourbon smash, but you’ll also need them for a variety of classic cocktails like Old Fashions, Margaritas, Whiskey Sour, Sazerac and more. For this bourbon smash I fancied it up with a cross between a snifter and a rocks glass. Totally unnecessary, but pretty nonetheless. 

bourbon smash cocktail in a whiskey glass with crushed ice and a mint sprig.

Bourbon smash with maple syrup

Here at ZK we’re all about cooking, baking, and shaking up cocktails with natural sweeteners. When it comes to using natural sweeteners in cocktails, the best are maple syrup, agave nectar, and fresh fruit juice. Unlike honey, these types of sweeteners easily dissolve into a cocktail when shaken or stirred in. 

Maple pairs incredibly well in a Bourbon Smash. The slightly smoky-sweet syrup enhances and adds nuance to the bourbon. If you can, find yourself a barrel ages maple syrup and you’ll add even more smoky flavor! 

If you aren’t into maple syrup, you can certainly use simple syrup instead. And if you want to keep it natural use sucanat, honey or sugar in the raw to make the simple syrup. 

Bourbon smash vs mint julep 

What’s the difference between a bourbon smash and a mint julep? The flavors are similar between the two classic cocktails, but there are some major differences. For one, a mint julep doesn’t contain lemon like the bourbon smash does. Depending on the source, a mint julep can be sweetened with simple syrup, sugar, superfine sugar, or even powdered sugar. And finally, it’s served in a metal cup, not a rocks glass. 

More whiskey cocktails you may like..

overhead image of two bourbon smash cocktails on a marble countertop

Classic Bourbon Smash

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Yield 1 cocktail
Category Cocktails
Cuisine American
Author Lauren Grant

Description

The classic Bourbon Smash! This sweet tart cocktail is refreshing and nuanced. Perfect for any occasion, even the non-bourbon drinkers will like this cocktail!

Ingredients

  • 3 lemon wedges
  • 4 large mint leaves
  • 1 ½ ounces bourbon
  • ¾ ounce pure maple syrup or simple syrup
  • Crushed ice

Instructions

  • Add lemon wedges to cocktail shaker and muddle until juices are released, about 10 smashes.
  • Add mint leaves and muddle just to release flavor, about 8 smashes.
  • Add bourbon and maple syrup (or simple syrup), fill shaker with ice, secure second glass or lid and shake vigorously until chilled, about 15 seconds.
  • Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice, strain bourbon smash over ice and garnish with mint.

Notes

Don’t have or want to make crushed ice? Serve this over a large square ice cube or serve it over regular ice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 157kcalCarbohydrates: 15gSodium: 5mgSugar: 13g
Keywords bourbon smash, classic bourbon smash, maple bourbon smash, whiskey smash
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
Yellow-colored cocktail in a whiskey glass with crushed ice and a mint sprig.

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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, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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