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Whiskey Smash

If you’re looking for an excellent drink that just screams luxury and class but is not your standard, expected fares like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned, try a Whiskey Smash on for size.

Whiskey Smash cocktail on the bar

This innovative 19-century drink is akin to the Mint Julep in its refreshing and bright flavor.

How to Make a Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash cocktail on the bar

Whiskey Smash

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

If you want a classic whiskey cocktail, this drink is a great bet. It can satisfy the tastes of whiskey lovers and novices alike, as the citrus and mint flavors help keep the whiskey from becoming too overwhelming.


  • 2 Oz Bourbon or Whiskey
  • ¾ Oz Simple Syrup
  • 4-5 Mint Leaves
  • 3 Large Lemon Wedges
  • 1 Mint Sprig Garnish


    1. Muddle the mint and lemon together well
    2. Add in simple syrup, bourbon, and ice and shake until thoroughly mixed
    3. Strain and pour into a rocks glass over cubed ice
    4. Adorn the glass with a sprig of mint

Did you make this recipe?

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History of the Whiskey Smash Cocktail

This cocktail was first publicly recognized in Jerry Thomas’ 1887 The Bartenders Guide. However, people had likely been whipping up whiskey and fruit for several years before its official announcement.

Whiskey Smash recipe

People think that this drink was fashionable far before it was mentioned in The Bartenders Guide because Mint Juleps first debuted in the 1700s and Whiskey Sours were already very fashionable by the time 1887 rolled around.

If you want to make this fruit-forward drink the expert way, you will need to muddle it thoroughly. Muddling means pressing your lemons so that both oils and juices are released.

The oil from the lemon peel will really give this drink the kick that it needs. If you want to get really fancy, you can add some cooling mint to your mixture. Spearmint lends a charming note to the beverage.

Modern Rebirth of the Whiskey Smash

Although this drink got its official start in the late 1800s, it experienced a rebirth in the 1980s and 1990s, when Dale DeGroff, also known as King Cocktail, put them in regular rotation at New York City’s Rainbow Room.

DeGroff was one of the most popular bartenders of the era, and his endorsement helped elevate and introduce the drink to a whole new generation.

Boozy Refreshing Whiskey Smash with Lemon and Mint

DeGroff’s signature spin on the classic drink uses bourbon, mint, and lemon wedges, but you can also make yours with rye or Canadian whiskey.

According to DeGroff, the mint and citrus take the edge off the whiskey, making it palatable for those who don’t like whiskey in general.

It’s a charming, simple, and sophisticated cocktail and is sure to please any palate.

Garnish Tips

For the best results, make sure that you slightly crush the spring of mint before garnishing the glass. You can do this by slapping it on your hand or lightly crushing it with a spoon.

This will help to make the mint more fragrant, and ultimately the drink more delicious. Some people even prefer it to its cousin, the whiskey sour!


It’s a fabulous choice for a summer cocktail. Since it’s so simple, you can easily make a batch for parties without having to be far from your guests for too long. 

Whiskey Smash
Please drink responsibly, be fully accountable with your alcohol consumption, and show others respect.

Written by Paul Kushner

I have always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. My restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time I turned 17 I was serving tables, and by 19 I was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, I opened my first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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