This whiskey smash is a classic cocktail that’s tangy and refreshing, featuring lemon juice and mint — it’s like a citrus spin on the mint julep.

Whiskey Smash

Here’s a classic drink that’s classy and refreshing: the whiskey smash! I’m not normally a whiskey drinker, but Alex has converted me with this one. It’s tangy and light: not heavy and boozy like normal whiskey cocktails. It’s a citrus spin on the classic Mint Julep, featuring lemon and mint. It’s perfect for entertaining or evening cocktails on the patio. And it’s a little quicker than our famous Whiskey Sour. Keep reading for the recipe!

Whiskey smash

What’s a whiskey smash?

The whiskey smash dates back to at least the 1880’s! It was listed in a bartender guide published in 1887. So you can imagine people in the Victorian times guzzling down this drink! It’s a whiskey cocktail made with lemon, mint, whiskey, and sweetener, and served with crushed ice.

The smash is an icy cocktail that often highlights seasonal fruit or herbs: it can be made with your spirit of choice: vodka, bourbon and whiskey all work. Here are a few different smash recipes (try them all!):

How to muddle

Cocktail tools for a whiskey smash

For this whiskey smash, you’ll need a few cocktail tools: or some of our alternatives that you’ll likely already have in your kitchen! Here are the cocktail tools you’ll need:

Cocktail Shaker

  • Get one: Favorite 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 of a cocktail shaker? Use a glass mason jar. Place the cocktail in the jar and fill it with ice. Screw on the top and shake away! Then strain the jar contents into a glass.

Cocktail Muddler

  • Get one: 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.
Whiskey smash

How to make a whiskey smash

This whiskey smash comes together in literally minutes! Alex remarked to me that he loves how quick it is to mix up: you don’t even have to juice lemons like in our family-favorite Whiskey Sour recipe. Using a muddler to muddle the lemon and mint releases their oils and juices, without having to spend time squeezing out lemon juice with a juicer.

Here’s how to make a whiskey smash (see the full recipe below):

  1. Place lemon and mint into a cocktail shaker and muddle (gently mash) it a few times.
  2. Add whiskey and maple syrup or simple syrup. Add ice and shake until cold.
  3. Strain into a glass. If you’d like, add a splash of soda water (this rounds out the flavors). Serve with crushed ice.

What glass for a whiskey smash?

The traditional way to serve a whiskey smash is in an Old Fashioned glass. Here are the Old Fashioned glasses we have! We use these all the time (like for an Old Fashioned). But more often we use them for cocktails like a classic margarita or frozen sangria. This drink would also work with a lowball glass if you have that type of glass on hand.

This whiskey smash recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.

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Whiskey smash

Best Whiskey Smash Recipe

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This whiskey smash is a classic cocktail that’s tangy and refreshing, featuring lemon juice and mint — it’s like a citrus spin on the mint julep.


  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) whiskey
  • 1/4 lemon, sliced into 2 wedges
  • 5 large mint leaves
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup or maple syrup
  • Soda water, for serving
  • Crushed ice, for serving


  1. 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.)
  2. Add the whiskey and maple syrup and fill the shaker with ice. Shake until cold and strain into a glass. If desired, add a splash of soda water. Serve with crushed ice.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Muddled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Whiskey Smash, Smash Recipe, Whiskey Smash

More whiskey cocktails

We’ve got lots of great whiskey cocktails and bourbon cocktails for you to choose from! Here are our favorites:

  • Favorite Whiskey Sour Perfectly balanced and so easy to make! Or add a foam topping to make it a Boston Sour.
  • Classic Old Fashioned The oldest cocktail there is, the Old Fashioned! The classic method uses a sugar cube, bitters, and bourbon whiskey for a truly timeless drink. Or, try it smoked!
  • Manhattan Cocktail Add style to your evening with this easy classic whiskey cocktail made with just three ingredients.
  • Toronto Cocktail Combines the depth and warmth of whiskey with the intrigue of herbal Fernet-Branca liqueur.
  • Whiskey Highball Here’s the classic whiskey highball: tall, bubbly, and all about the spirit! A refreshing way to enjoy your favorite whiskey.
  • Boulevardier Cocktail A stunning classic cocktail! This easy three ingredient drink an the improvement on the Negroni, swapping gin for warm whiskey.

Last updated: April 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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