What is a Smash Cocktail?

standard March 19, 2015 Leave a response

What is a Smash Cocktail?As an aspiring home bartender I’m regularly confronted by all sorts of mixology and craft bartending terms that I simply don’t understand. That’s why when I recently encountered the Smash cocktail, I set out to figure out what this mysterious Smash is and how can I make one?

What is a Smash Cocktail?

As with so many different cocktails finding an exact definition is a fool’s errand, but after pulling together some research from a variety of sources, I’ve narrowed the definition of the Smash cocktail down to the following:

The Smash is a family of cocktails that generally include:

  • spirit
  • sweetener
  • herb
  • seasonal fruit
  • ice
  • water

Don’t freak out about what appears to be a load of ingredients, because smash drinks are easy to make, especially for the beginner. One easy way to think of the Smash cocktail: It’s like a Mint Julep with seasonal fruit.

Friendly to Cocktail Novices

Since the definition of the Smash drink is fast and loose, you can’t do anything wrong. For example, ice can be served in the drink or strained; the seasonal fruit can be muddled in glass or act as a garnish. Essentially you can do pretty much anything you want with a Smash. And I like that.

Smash Cocktails: Perfect for Summer

If you ask me Smash cocktails are made for warm weather enjoyment and (hopefully) Summer is around the corner. These drinks are sure to be warm-weather pleasers so I’ve done some experimentation to find some easy smash cocktail recipes using a range of different spirits. Take a look at these and let me know what you think!

The Gin, Cucumber & Basil Smash

The Gin, Basil & Cucumber Smash CocktailIngredients

  • 2 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz. Carbonated Water
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • 4 Basil Sprigs
  • 2 Cucumber Slices (1/4″)
  • Ice



  1. Muddle sugar, carbonated water, mint sprigs and cucumber in an old-fashioned glass.
  2. Add gin
  3. Top with crushed ice
  4. Stir

The Whiskey Smash

The Whiskey Smash CocktailIngredients



  1. Muddle 3 sprigs of mint and lemon in mixing glass
  2. Add simple syrup, Bourbon & crushed ice
  3. Cover with Boston Shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
  4. Strain into a rocks glass.
  5. Garnish with 1 sprig of mint

The Strawberry Lemonade Smash

The Strawberry Lemonade Smash CocktailIngredients

  • 3 Hulled Strawberries
  • 2 oz. White Rum
  • 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 Strawberry for Garnish
  • Crushed Ice


  • Muddler
  • Boston Shaker
  • Mixing Glass
  • Highball Glass
  • Hawthorne Strainer


  1. Muddle 3 hulled strawberries in a cocktail shaker
  2. Add 2 oz. white rum, 1 oz. fresh lemon juice, and 1 oz. simple syrup.
  3. Fill with ice, cover, and shake until outside of shaker is frosty (approx 30 sec.)
  4. Fill a highball glass with crushed ice.
  5. Strain strawberry mixture into glass.
  6. Garnish with a strawberry.

The Jalapeno Tequila Smash

The Jalapeno Tequila Smash CocktailIngredients

  • 2 Lime Slices
  • 2 Orange Slices
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeño Pepper Slice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • 1/2 cup Soda water
  • Ice



  1. Muddle lime,lemon and jalapeño slice with simple syrup in a Mixing Glass.
  2. Add Tequila and Soda Water
  3. Stir until thoroughly chilled
  4. Pour Into Rocks Glass
  5. Serve


Despite the vague definition of this family of cocktails, I hope that I’ve answered the question What is a Smash Cocktail? to your satisfaction.  Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the Smash and where it may fit into your cocktail rotation.


Suburban adventurer, beer lover and Cocktail Novice, Bill has a variety of interests including cooking, blogging and "bad" surfing. If you're keen to connect, give him a shout on Twitter.