St. Patrick's Day is coming up, and we could all use a festive cocktail to celebrate the occasion. Enter this Irish whiskey smash. With its smooth Irish whiskey, tart lemon and bright mint, this cocktail is a refreshing sipper to enjoy on this spring holiday.
Of course, don't feel like you can only drink this Irish whiskey smash for St. Patrick's Day. Smashes are one of my favorite types of cocktails, and this recipe works perfectly well year-round.
Essentially, a smash is a cocktail that uses a liquor, fruit, herb and sweetener. I'm a sucker for anything with fresh herbs, so a good smash is my perfect kind of drink. All right, it's time to start mixing.
Let's begin by gathering our ingredients. We obviously need Irish whiskey along with lemon, fresh mint and simple syrup. If you’d like, you’re also welcome to give it a fizzy topper from club soda, though it’s optional.
- Irish whiskey: My go-to Irish whiskey is Jameson.
- Fresh lemon juice: For the perfect brightness.
- Fresh mint: This adds a lovely refreshing flavor and fragrance.
- Simple syrup: To give the perfect touch of sweetness.
- Club soda: This is optional, but it's nice if you'd like a bubbly finish.
A quick note about the simple syrup -- while you can buy simple syrup, I like to make my own because it’s incredibly easy. Simply combine equal parts water and sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves.
Making simple syrup ahead of time is ideal to give it time to cool. That said, I’ve been in a pinch and had to make simple syrup on the spot. Just use plenty of ice in your cocktail shaker, and you’ll be fine.
And now to start shaking. Let's grab our cocktail shaker and add a half lemon cut into wedges with a little simple syrup and muddle until the lemon breaks down.
We then add some fresh mint leaves and gently muddle again. The mint only needs a few twists. If we overbruise the mint, it can turn bitter.
From here, we pour in the bourbon, add ice, pop on the top and give it a good shake. Strain into ice-filled glasses and top with a little club soda if you want some fizz. Honestly, it's delicious both with or without fizz, so you do you.
And that's it! Easy, huh? Take a sip and enjoy.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Purchase lemons that feel plump and have some give when you press them. Rock-hard lemons are a sign that they're dried out.
- Firmly roll the lemon on the countertop under the palm of your hand before juicing. This helps release the juice.
- If you don't have a muddle, a sturdy wooden spoon will do the trick.
- Before garnishing with the mint, place the sprig in the palm of your hand and then quickly clap your other hand on top. This step helps release the oils to make for a more fragrant drinking experience.
I love pairing whiskey and cheese together. With all the nuances in the different types of whiskey, you can play around with so many pairing options. For Irish whiskey, I love it with Brie and havarti, and I have just the recipe: a Parmesan-crusted Brie and havarti grilled cheese with apricot, avocado and fresh herbs. You can never go wrong with a fancy grilled cheese.
With Irish whiskey and its triple distillation, you generally get a smooth sipper with a touch of vanilla and honey. Both Brie and havarti pair well with sweet flavors, and I love how the nutty havarti works with slight spice of the Irish whiskey. That tart lemon from the smash also helps cut through the rich cheeses for a nice palate cleanser, and the mint is delightful with the herbs and apricot.
Of course, you very well may be drinking this cocktail with your St. Patrick's Day celebration. If that's the case, you're probably looking for something with more of an Irish flair. Try my Guinness Irish stew, smoked corned beef, Irish chocolate cake, stout brownies or Baileys mousse on the side.
If you need a fun St. Patrick's Day cocktail or just a refreshing sipper any day of the year, I hope you try this Irish whiskey smash.
Looking for More Cocktails?
- Chai cranberry smash
- Cherry bourbon smash
- Vanilla bean-orange-infused bourbon
- Blueberry bourbon smash
- Chai old fashioned
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Irish Whiskey Smash
- Cocktail shaker
- Jigger or small measuring cup
- ½ lemon cut into wedges
- 1 ounce simple syrup preferably homemade (see notes)
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 2 ounces Irish whiskey
- Chilled club soda for topping, optional
- Fresh mint sprig for garnish, optional
- In a cocktail shaker, add the lemon wedges and simple syrup and muddle until the lemon breaks down. Add the mint leaves and gently muddle a few times — the mint just needs a few twists and doesn't need to be worked as much as the lemon.
- Add Irish whiskey and ice. Place the top of the cocktail shaker on and shake vigorously for at least 15 seconds.
- Strain into an ice-filled glass. If desired, top with club soda for a bubbly finish. If desired, place the mint sprig in the palm of one hand and quickly clap the other hand on top to release the mint's fragrance and garnish. Enjoy!
- To make simple syrup, simmer 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from heat. Allow to cool. Keep in a sterile, airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks. It's time for a new batch when it turns cloudy.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.