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Thirsty Thursday

Fruity Whiskey Smash

A winter to spring transitional drink for our transitional era

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Now that I’ve been a legal adult for more than a year, I feel like I’ve experimented enough with different types of alcohol. I know that I like tequila the best and can’t stand vodka. I can be particular about beer and wine and am always up for trying new hard seltzers. However, when my friends and I find a drink we like, we tend to stick to it. This recipe is my attempt to trick my friends into liking whiskey.

Typically, a whiskey smash is made with bourbon, lemon, simple syrup, and mint. Coined in the late 1800s, it most closely resembles a chilled hot toddy or a lemon drop with whiskey instead of vodka. My version leans into the fruity and floral side by adding herbs to the simple syrup and berries as a garnish. This updated whiskey smash is extremely simple and adaptable to satisfy your unique taste buds, so try something different.


  • Two shots of bourbon — If whiskey isn’t your thing, gin or vodka also works fine. 

  • One shot of fresh lemon juice

  • One shot of simple syrup — Get creative. I made my own with lavender and juniper berries because now is the time to do so. 

  • Garnish — I like to put in a blackberry or maybe a sprig of lavender for fun, but mint is traditional. 


  1. Combine whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker or with a muddler if you don’t have one.

  2. Add ice and shake/stir vigorously (about 20 seconds).

  3. Strain and pour into glass.

  4. Add garnish and enjoy!

Make it sour: Mix with Meyer lemons and thyme-infused simple syrup for a sour version. 

Reach writer Ellen Cooper at Twitter: @ellenecooper

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