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The Whiskey Smash is a classic cocktail that’s tangy and refreshing! Starring lemon juice and mint, it’s a citrusy spin on the Mint Julep.

Whiskey Smash
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Here’s a classic cocktail that’s classy and refreshing: the Whiskey Smash! It’s tangy and light: not heavy and boozy like many whiskey cocktails. This historic drink is like a citrusy spin on the classic Mint Julep, or a minty spin on the Whiskey Sour. It’s perfect for entertaining, like a pre-dinner drink or cocktails on the patio. Here’s how to make this tasty drink that’s been pleasing drinkers for centuries! (It has our hearts.)

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. 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.

A 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

  • 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.
  • Get one: Favorite Cocktail Shaker

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.
  • Get one: Cocktail Muddler
Whiskey smash

How to make a Whiskey Smash

The Whiskey Smash comes together in 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. Use a muddler to muddle the lemon and mint to release their oils and juices, without having to spend time squeezing with a juicer. Here’s how to make a whiskey smash (see the full recipe below):

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

The serving glass

The traditional way to serve a Whiskey Smash is in a lowball glass. Here are the lowball glasses we have! We use them all the time for classic lowball cocktails, like the Old Fashioned, or for laid back presentations like the Classic Margarita.

And that’s it! Let us know if you try this Whiskey Smash recipe and what you think in the comments below.

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Whiskey smash

Best Whiskey Smash Recipe

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4 from 1 review

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


The Whiskey Smash is a classic cocktail that’s tangy and refreshing! Starring lemon juice and mint, it’s a citrusy 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 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Muddle 4 to 5 times to extract flavor. Add the lemon wedges and muddle again.
  2. Add the whiskey and simple 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

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.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Jan McFarland says:

    My friends and I loved your whiskey smash recipe, but it was too difficult to make for a group. Ended up giving everyone a shot glass taste w a tiny bit of ice. I see you show how to increase up to 3x the recipe. Have any thoughts on how to easily make a small pitcher full, rather than all the manual manual process? It really was delicious!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! I would use an 8x our whiskey sour, and they serve over ice and garnished with mint (or muddle mint in the individual glasses).

      2 cups bourbon, 1 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup simple syrup — stirred in pitcher with a handful of ice.

      1. Jan McFarland says:

        Thank you for the great suggestion! We’ll be making this again soon for our gourmet cooking group!