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How to Make a Rye Whiskey Smash

How to Make a Rye Whiskey Smash Cocktail
Dan Baker/The Manual

Even if you don’t know it, you’re probably already at least a little familiar with a smash cocktail (and no, it doesn’t mean you pound the drink down as quickly as you can … even if people have done that from time to time). How would you know what a smash is? Because if you’re reading this, we’re betting you know what a mint julep is. A julep, you see, is a smash. And in a square/rectangle kind of way, all smashes are juleps, but not all juleps are smashes. Still with us?

Both drinks contain many of the same ingredients: spirit, ice, sugar, and some sort of herb (in the case of the mint julep it’s …  well, you get it). Where the two drinks split is the addition of fruit to a smash. Smashes utilize fresh fruit (seasonal, if possible) to create a layer that accentuates the flavors you might find in the whiskey. Here, we use fresh lemon, a common addition to smashes, though berries when available make for a delightful profile as well. We felt these flavors complemented the rye we chose, KO Distilling Bare Knuckle American Rye Whiskey, in wonderful ways.

How to Make a Rye Whiskey Smash Muddle
Dan Baker/The Manual

Below, check out our video showing how to make a rye smash cocktail shot by The Manual’s own Riley Young with Eddie Riddell at Trifecta Tavern in Portland, Oregon. Trifecta Tavern is open nightly and serves up an exquisitely curated cocktail program (thanks to Riddell) and a variety of seasonal dishes from executive chef Chris DiMinno.

How to Make a Rye Whiskey Smash

Glass: Rocks

Tools: Muddler, shaker

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 half lemon, quartered
  • 7-9 mint leaves (2 for garnish)

Method: Add lemon and mint to a shaker or mixing glass and muddle together. Add whiskey, simple syrup, and ice. Shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with mint leaf.

This recipe features KO Distilling Bare Knuckle American Rye Whiskey, the winner of the Rye Whiskey category of The Manual Spirit Awards 2019. If you’re looking to find other cocktail recipe videos, we recommend checking out how to make a Bee’s Knees, a Blood and Sand, a mojito, or a whiskey sour.

Further Reading

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