|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 2g||3%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 84g||30%|
|Dietary Fiber 20g||70%|
|Total Sugars 35g|
|Vitamin C 374mg||1,872%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
The whiskey smash is a classic cocktail with a bright flavor. The recipe comes from "Professor" Jerry Thomas' 1887 book, "Bar-Tenders Guide," though drinkers likely enjoyed it before his time. Even after so many years, it remains a fantastic drink and an excellent option for drinkers who are new to whiskey.
Like the famous mint julep (which predates this drink), the whiskey smash showcases that refreshing combination of bourbon and mint. This drink is also sweetened, and adding lemon gives it a citrus spin that's perfect for your favorite bourbon. It comes together very quickly, and you can tweak it as you see fit to match a particular whiskey.
"The Whiskey Smash and I do not get along for one very simple reason. It takes longer to make than it takes to enjoy. It is, by all accounts, a delicious and memorable cocktail. When you make, one just be prepared to make at least two more." —Sean Johnson
5 to 8 leaves spearmint, to taste
1/4 lemon, cut into 3 pieces
1 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
Mint sprig, for garnish
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
In a cocktail shaker, add the mint and lemon.
Muddle thoroughly to release the juices and oils.
Add simple syrup, whiskey, and fill the shaker with ice.
Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with a mint sprig. Serve and enjoy.
- If you don't have a muddler, smash the ingredients with the back of a spoon or the handle of a wooden spoon.
- In the original recipe, 1 teaspoon of sugar was dissolved in 2 teaspoons of water, creating an in-the-glass simple syrup. If bartenders of the day used a liquid sweetener, it most likely would have been gomme syrup. Any of these options will work.
- Rinse fresh mint before using it; it's easier to do this while it's still on the stem.
- To ensure a mint-free drink, fine-strain the cocktail: Pour through your shaker's regular strainer into a fine-mesh strainer held over the glass.
- Though the recipe calls for bourbon, other styles of whiskey will work just fine in the whiskey smash. If you prefer a robust rye or a smooth Canadian, feel free to pour one of those instead. It's all a matter of personal preference. The drink will take on a different character with each whiskey you pour.
- In a pinch, orange would be a preferred choice over lime if those are the only citrus options you have. In that case, the drink becomes more of a minty old-fashioned.
What Is a Smash Cocktail?
"Smash" cocktails use a muddler to press the juices and oils out of fresh ingredients and mix the flavors together before adding the liquor. While any muddled cocktail qualifies, the classic smash drinks feature mint. Along with this whiskey smash, the brandy smash and gin smash (made with genever) were equally popular in the 1800s. Those two typically skip the lemon and use mint alone. Other spirits work in the smash recipes as well: Try it with rum for a mojito-like drink or vodka.
What's the Best Mint for Cocktails?
Thomas specifies spearmint in his whiskey smash recipe. It is the most common variety of mint available and often the type that's simply labeled "mint." Any mint will work, and some of the newer hybrids like pineapple and chocolate mints can make a very interesting smash as well. The 1887 recipe calls for "3 to 4 young sprigs of mint," and that can be a lot for such a short drink. Yet, mint does not come in standard sizes, so adjust the quantity as you see fit. Dried mint is OK to use as well, and some drinkers say they prefer its flavor over the fresh herb. Experiment and see what you think.
How Strong Is the Whiskey Smash?
There is not much added to the whiskey in this drink, so it doesn't dip far below the whiskey's bottling strength. If your whiskey is 80 proof, then the average whiskey smash would be around 23 percent ABV (46 proof).