Whiskey Smash

By Sharmini Jayawardena 

30th July 2023

The Whiskey Smash is a classic cocktail that is refreshingly classy. Here’s a whiskey cocktail for entertaining your guests, pre-dinner or cocktails on the patio.

According to Liquor.com : 

“The Whiskey Smash made its recipe-book debut in the 1887 edition of “The Bartenders Guide” by Jerry Thomas, though variations of this fruit-and-whiskey concoction were likely made for decades prior to this inclusion. After all, bartenders and drinkers had been making juleps since the 1700s, and the citrusy Whiskey Sour was already in rotation when the Whiskey Smash came onto the scene.

A good smash requires a good muddler. You want to compress the lemon wedges to release not only their juices, but also the oils in the peel, which creates a richer taste when combined with the whiskey and sugar. Adding a few fresh mint leaves to the shaker (Mr. Thomas specifically calls for spearmint) lends cooling minty notes.

Legendary bartender Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail, began serving Whiskey Smashes at the Rainbow Room in New York when he was behind the bar during the late 1980s and 1990s, which helped to popularize and reintroduce this classic to modern drinkers. He made his version with bourbon, muddled lemon wedges and mint. Most recipes call for bourbon, but rye and even Canadian whiskies also create a fine drink.

DeGroff calls the citrus-and-mint combination the perfect cocktail for those who say they’ll never drink whiskey. …”.

‘You may have heard the phrase, “All bourbon and Scotch are whiskies but not all whiskies are bourbon or Scotch.” But what does that mean? And is it “Whiskey” or “Whisky”?’ 

I created this Whiskey Smash using ice crafted by me for the first time. It didn’t turn out too well, so I’m not sharing pix of the ice here. I have added the crafted ice instead of crushed ice that the recipe calls for.

The traditional way to serve a Whiskey Smash is in a lowball glass.


2 ounces (4 tablespoons) whiskey (I used Scotch) 

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.

3.Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint. (Mine is straight from my herb garden 🪴).

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