This bourbon smash is a refreshing bourbon cocktail that’s full of flavor: perfectly balanced and tangy, with a hint of mint.
Looking for a bourbon cocktail that’s tangy and refreshing? This maple bourbon smash tastes a little like a whiskey sour, but with bourbon. It’s perfectly tart and just sweet enough, with a back-end hint of spirits. It’s naturally sweetened with maple syrup, and there’s a bit of herbaceous mint, too! It’s like a citrus spin on the classic Mint Julep. We served it as a homemade cocktail when my sister came to visit and everyone loved it: even the non-bourbon lovers! So it’s a crowd-pleaser all around. Keep reading for the recipe!
What’s a bourbon smash?
First off: what is a bourbon smash? A smash is an icy cocktail that often highlights seasonal fruit or herbs. It’s made for hot days, and can be made with your spirit of choice (vodka, bourbon and whiskey all work). The smash is pretty variable, and flexible depending on the season. (Here’s more on the history of the smash cocktail.)
Mint is a classic choice used in a smash, but other herbs can work. If you’d like, you can water down your smash a bit, or top off with a bit of soda water. If you want a bourbon smash that’s more fruity, try our Blackberry Bourbon Smash! We also have a version with vodka, our Berry Vodka Smash.
Cocktail tools for a bourbon smash
For this maple bourbon smash, you’ll need a few cocktail tools. But if you’re not ready to invest, you can use one of our alternatives below! Here’s what you’ll need to make a maple bourbon smash:
- Cocktail Shaker: A cocktail shaker quickly chills cocktails by shaking them against ice, then has a strainer so you can pour out the cocktail without pouring out the ice as well. What can you use instead? Use a glass mason jar. Place the cocktail in the jar and fill it with ice. Screw on the top and shake away!
- Cocktail Muddler: A cocktail muddler is used to mash fruits and herbs in a glass or cocktail shaker to release their flavor. What can you use instead? Use a wooden spoon to gently mash the berries, lime wedges, and mint leaves.
How to make a maple bourbon smash
Once you’ve got the tools for the job, making this maple bourbon smash is seriously simple. Overall, you’ll find that the maple syrup here doesn’t add a maple flavor; it’s simply used as a natural sweetener instead of simple syrup.
Here are the basic steps to make this bourbon smash (scroll down for the full recipe):
- Muddle lemon and mint in a cocktail shaker.
- Add bourbon and maple syrup. Shake with ice.
- Strain into a glass. Add a bit of soda water, if desired. Serve with crushed ice.
What glass for a bourbon smash?
The traditional way to serve a whiskey smash is in an Old Fashioned glass, so we’ve done the same with this bourbon smash! Here are the Old Fashioned glasses we have! We use these often, even for cocktails that wouldn’t normally be served this way like fall sangria or frozen sangria. This drink would also work with a lowball glass if you have that type of glass on hand.
Drinks with natural sweeteners
Alex and I love to use maple syrup as a sweetener in our cocktail recipes! Maple syrup has essentially the same sugar content as refined sugar, so it’s not necessarily healthier. But we find that it has a gentler way to sweeten drinks that also has a nuance in flavor (and it doesn’t taste like maple!). You can often find local maple syrup to support local businesses.
More bourbon drinks!
If you love whiskey, here are all the best bourbon drinks to choose from:
- Best Bourbon Sour Also known as the Whiskey Sour, it’s balanced and sweet tart, complementing bourbon with the acidity of lemon and the sweetness of simple syrup.
- Boulevardier Cocktail Essentially a Negroni made with whiskey instead of gin, and wow! The sweetness of the bourbon perfectly balances the flavor.
- New York Sour One of the most stunning cocktails there is: a whiskey sour with red wine floated on top. It’s gorgeous!
- Classic Old Fashioned One of the most famous bourbon cocktails there is: we like it best with bourbon!
This bourbon smash recipe is…
Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.Print
This maple bourbon smash is a refreshing bourbon cocktail that’s full of flavor: perfectly balanced and tangy, with a hint of mint.
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) bourbon
- 1/4 lemon, sliced into 2 wedges
- 5 large mint leaves
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) maple syrup or simple syrup
- Soda water, for serving
- Crushed ice, for serving
- Place the lemon wedges and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Muddle 4 to 5 times to extract flavor. (Here’s more on How to Muddle Mint.)
- Add the bourbon and maple syrup and fill the shaker with ice. If desired, add a splash of soda water. Shake until cold and strain into a glass. Serve with crushed ice.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Maple bourbon smash, Bourbon smash
Last updated: April 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.