A Bartender's Unconventional Take on a Whiskey Smash

Hint: raspberries and basil leaves.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist. Photo Assistant: Mitchell Mylius. Food Stylist: Micah Morton with Big Leo. Food Stylist Assistant: Terrance Harvey.
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

A smash is a cocktail made with crushed or shaved ice, fruit, sweetener, a base spirit, and some sort of herb. The Whiskey Smash is the brainchild of Jerry Thomas, the patron saint of modern bartending, who published the recipe in his first book back in 1887. James Beard award-winning barman Dale DeGroff tipped off modern tipplers to the joys of the Whiskey Smash when he extolled the virtues of the drink in his 2008 best-seller, The Essential Cocktail. A cross between a Mint Julep and a Whiskey Sour, the Smash is a gateway drink—a light, refreshing entrée into the wonderful world of whiskey-based potables.

For another modern take on the classic, Shae Minnillo, a bartender at Manolito in New Orleans, favors raspberry and basil. "The cocktail term 'smash' itself implies a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, anything-goes attitude. Tart berries and herbal, savory elements have ways of enhancing each other, especially when boosted by spirits," Manolito says. "Ideally, this combo would pair with dinner or dessert, or serve as its own mid course."

Whiskey Smash

Sweet, Sour


  • 2 ounces Whiskey
  • ½ ounce Lemon Juice
  • ½ ounce Simple Syrup
  • 4 Raspberries
  • 2 Basil Leaves


Step one

Muddle the lemon juice, simple syrup, raspberries, and basil leaves.

Step two

Add whiskey and shake with a touch of ice (should almost be a dry shake).

Step three

Strain into rocks glass filled halfway with crushed ice.

Step four

Add more crushed ice to fill the drink to the rim of the glass and garnish with a raspberry and basil sprig.

Recipe provided by Shae Minnillo