Maple Bourbon Smash Cocktail Recipe

Maple Bourbon Smash: A Classic Cocktail with a Sweet Twist

Looking for a refreshing cocktail with a unique twist? The  Maple Bourbon Smash might just be the drink you're craving.

This delightful cocktail combines bourbon, maple syrup, and citrus to create a tangy and sweet experience that is both easy to make and enjoyable to sip.

It's perfect for a cozy night by the fire or as a standout drink at your next brunch. Whether you're a bourbon enthusiast or just looking to try something new, the Maple Bourbon Smash offers something special.

Key Takeaways

  • The Maple Bourbon Smash combines bourbon, maple syrup, and citrus.
  • This cocktail is both tangy and sweet, ideal for various occasions.
  • Lightly muddling the citrus enhances the drink's flavor.

How to Make a Maple Bourbon Smash

To craft this drink, you only need a few simple ingredients: bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and an orange for garnish. The combination of these ingredients creates a balanced flavor profile that is both warming and refreshing.

Lightly muddling the citrus pieces brings out their natural oils, enhancing the drink's overall taste.


  1. Bourbon
  2. Maple syrup
  3. Lemon juice
  4. Orange (for garnish)
  5. Mint leaves (optional, for muddling and garnish)
  6. Orange bitters (optional)
  7. Ice (cubes or crushed)


  1. Muddle Citrus and Herbs:
  • Place lemon wedges and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker.
  • Gently muddle to release the flavors.
  1. Combine Ingredients:
  • Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to the shaker.
  • Add half an ounce of orange juice and half an ounce of lemon juice.
  • Add a few dashes of orange bitters, if using.
  • Pour in 1.5 ounces of bourbon.
  1. Shake the Cocktail:
  • Fill the shaker with ice.
  • Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.
  1. Strain and Serve:
  • Strain the mixture into a rock glass or lowball glass filled with ice.
  1. Garnish:
  • Add an orange wheel and lightly muddle it within the glass to release its essential oils.
  • Place a fresh mint sprig on top for a refreshing aroma.
  1. Optional Variations
  • For a seasonal twist, add berries in summer, apple cider and a cinnamon stick in fall, cranberries and rosemary in winter, or extra mint and lemon in spring.
  • Experiment with different herbs, syrups, and citrus fruits for unique flavors.

Ingredient Breakdown

Creating a Maple Bourbon Smash involves selecting high-quality bourbon , understanding the variety of maple syrups available, and learning how citrus and herbs enhance the drink's flavor.

Choosing Quality Bourbon

The flavor of the Maple Bourbon Smash largely hinges on the quality of the bourbon used.

Opt for a bourbon that offers a balance of sweetness and spice .

Bourbons like Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve are good choices. They provide a smooth base that pairs well with the sweetness from the maple syrup and the brightness from citrus.

Avoid overly smoky or peaty bourbons, as these can overpower the delicate balance of flavors in the cocktail.

Always use fresh, not aged, bourbon to keep the mix vibrant and lively.

Understanding Maple Syrup Varieties

Maple syrup is not just a sweetener; it adds depth and a rich, caramelized flavor to the cocktail.

There are several grades of maple syrup, including Grade A Light, Grade A Amber, and Grade B.

Grade A Amber is often preferred for cocktails as it offers a balanced sweetness without being too overpowering.

Grade B syrups are darker and more robust, suitable for those who desire a more pronounced maple flavor. Always check the label to ensure the syrup is pure and free of additives.

The Role of Citrus and Herbs

Citrus fruits like lemon and orange are vital in balancing the sweetness of the maple syrup and the warmth of the bourbon.

Fresh lemon juice adds a tangy note, while orange juice provides a sweet and slightly bitter undertone. This combination brings a refreshing quality to the drink.

Herbs like mint and rosemary add aromatic complexity.

Muddling mint leaves releases oils that offer a refreshing contrast to the richness of the bourbon and maple syrup.

A sprig of fresh rosemary can also add a slightly pine-like fragrance, enhancing the overall sensory experience.

Preparation Techniques

When making a Maple Bourbon Smash, it’s vital to focus on getting the most flavor from muddling, understanding the difference between shaking and stirring, and selecting the right type of ice.

Muddling for Maximum Flavor

Muddling is a key technique in cocktail making. For the Maple Bourbon Smash, using a muddler to gently press the citrus and herbs releases essential oils and juices.

To muddle, place lemon wedges and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker.

Press down with the muddler, twisting slightly. Aim to release flavors without tearing the leaves or fruit.

Over-muddling can create a bitter taste. A gentle touch ensures a balanced mix of flavors.

Shaking vs. Stirring

Deciding whether to shake or stir your cocktail can affect its texture and taste.

Shaking a Maple Bourbon Smash in a cocktail shaker with ice chills the drink and dilutes it slightly, making it smoother.

To shake, add the muddled ingredients, bourbon, and ice to the shaker.

Shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.

Stirring, on the other hand, mixes the drink gently and maintains a stronger flavor.

Stirring is less common for this cocktail but can be done for a less diluted drink.

Ice Matters: Choosing the Right Type

The type of ice used can change the drinking experience.

In a Maple Bourbon Smash, ice affects how quickly the drink chills and dilutes.

Ice cubes are commonly used for a slower dilution, maintaining the drink’s strength longer.

Crushed ice, however, cools the drink faster and dilutes it more quickly.

Large ice cubes are ideal for serving, as they melt slower and keep the drink cold without overly watering it down.

Constructing the Drink

Crafting a Maple Bourbon Smash involves carefully layering flavors and presenting the drink stylishly. Each step ensures the cocktail is both delicious and visually appealing.

Layering Flavors

To create a balanced Maple Bourbon Smash, start by gathering the essential ingredients: bourbon, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and bitters.

Use a rocks glass or lowball glass for this cocktail.

Begin by pouring a tablespoon of maple syrup into the glass. This sweet base will balance the strong notes of the bourbon.

Next, add equal parts of orange juice and lemon juice. Typically, about half an ounce of each works well. This mixture adds a citrusy brightness that complements the maple and bourbon.

For a richer flavor, add a few dashes of orange bitters. This ingredient enhances the complexity of the drink, providing subtle aromatic notes.

Finish with a shot (about 1.5 ounces) of bourbon. Stir gently to mix all the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring the flavors are evenly distributed.

Garnish and Presentation

The presentation of the Maple Bourbon Smash is as important as its taste. Proper garnish and a clean presentation can elevate the cocktail experience.

Start by adding an orange wheel to the drink. Lightly muddle it within the glass to release its essential oils, enhancing both the aroma and flavor.

Place a fresh mint sprig on top of the drink. Not only does this add a touch of green, but it also brings a refreshing aroma when taking sips.

For additional flair, consider using a large ice cube instead of regular ice. A single large cube melts slower, keeping the drink chilled without diluting it quickly.

Variations and Modifications

There are many ways to put a spin on the classic maple bourbon smash. From using seasonal ingredients to experimenting with creative additions, these variations can bring new life to your drink.

Seasonal Twists on the Maple Bourbon Smash

Incorporate seasonal fruits and herbs to make your maple bourbon smash stand out.

In summer, try adding fresh berries like strawberries or blueberries. They provide a burst of flavor and a hint of sweetness.

In the fall, consider adding apple cider and a cinnamon stick to your drink. This will enhance the warmth and cozy flavors.

During winter, a few cranberries and a sprig of rosemary can add a festive touch.

Spring can be celebrated with fresh mint and a splash of lemon to lighten the drink.

These small modifications bring new dimensions to an already delightful drink while keeping it seasonal and fresh.

Creative Additions and Substitutions

Adding different herbs, syrups, or even swapping out the type of whiskey can result in a unique drink.

Substitute maple syrup with honey or agave for a different sweetness profile.

Experimenting with herbs like basil or thyme, instead of just mint, offers a different aromatic experience.

Adding a splash of fruit liqueur, such as orange liqueur or cherry schnapps, can enhance complexity.

For those who enjoy a bit of spice, adding a dash of ginger syrup or muddling some fresh ginger provides a zesty kick.

Even using different types of citrus like lime or grapefruit instead of lemon can create interesting flavors.

Serving Tips

When serving a Maple Bourbon Smash, choosing the right glassware and pairing the drink with appropriate foods can enhance the overall experience.

Consider the season and setting to create the perfect ambiance for this refreshing cocktail.

The Perfect Glassware

The best glass for a Maple Bourbon Smash is a lowball glass.

This type of glass showcases the drink's rich color and allows for easy muddling directly in the glass.

If you want a more rustic presentation, a mason jar is a great alternative. It adds a casual, cozy feel to the drink, making it ideal for fall and winter gatherings.

For extra flair, use large, clear ice cubes. They melt slower, keeping the drink chilled without diluting it quickly.

You can also experiment with crushed ice for a different texture, which can make the cocktail more refreshing.

Pairings and Occasions

A Maple Bourbon Smash pairs well with hearty foods like smoked meats and roasted vegetables.

These flavors complement the drink's sweetness and bourbon's richness.

This cocktail is perfect for fall and winter occasions, such as Thanksgiving or a cozy evening by the fireplace with a good book.

Its warm flavors are soothing during colder months.

For large gatherings, consider making a big batch.

Preparing it in advance in a large pitcher can save time and ensure everyone gets to enjoy this delightful beverage.

A maple bourbon smash is a versatile drink that can elevate any event, whether casual or formal.

Nutritional Information

The Maple Bourbon Smash is a delightful cocktail that balances the sweetness of maple syrup with the robustness of bourbon. Understanding its nutritional content and catering to dietary restrictions can help you make informed choices.

Caloric Content

The caloric content of a Maple Bourbon Smash can vary depending on the ingredients used.

  • Bourbon: One ounce of bourbon has around 70 calories.
  • Maple Syrup: A tablespoon of maple syrup adds about 52 calories.

Adding the citrus juices and any additional ingredients, a single serving could easily surpass 150 calories.

It's essential to note that while maple syrup and bourbon bring unique flavors, they also increase the calorie count.

Considering Dietary Restrictions

For those with dietary restrictions, specific ingredient choices can make the Maple Bourbon Smash more suitable.

  • Diabetics: The natural sweeteners, particularly maple syrup, contain sugar. Alternatives such as agave syrup or an artificial sweetener can help reduce sugar intake.
  • Vegan or Vegetarian: This cocktail typically meets vegan standards. However, checking labels for any non-vegan additives in maple syrup is advisable.
  • Gluten-Free: As bourbon is distilled from grains like corn and barley, it's generally considered gluten-free. However, those with severe sensitivity should verify with the brand.

Understanding these dietary considerations ensures everyone can enjoy a refreshing Maple Bourbon Smash without worry.

Recommended Equipment

To make a perfect Maple Bourbon Smash, having the right tools is crucial. This section discusses the essential bar tools and alternative gear for home bartenders, helping you decide what you need for your cocktail.

Essential Bar Tools

A Cocktail Shaker is indispensable. It ensures that ingredients mix well and the drink stays chilled.

A Jigger helps with accurate measurements, preventing mistakes in proportions.

You will also need a Muddler to crush the fruit and herbs, releasing their flavors into the drink.

Using an Old Fashioned Glass or a Lowball Glass adds authenticity.

These glasses have a sturdy base and are perfect for serving chilled cocktails.

Bitters is another key element; a few dashes add complexity to the drink.

Finally, a Strainer will be needed if your shaker doesn't have a built-in one, to keep ice and fruit out of the glass.

Alternative Gear for the Home Bartender

If you don't have a cocktail shaker, a mason jar with a lid can work in a pinch.

Any small container can be used as a substitute for a Jigger – just ensure it has clear measurements.

A wooden spoon can replace a Muddler; use the handle to press down on the ingredients.

For the glasses, even a regular tumbler can do. It's not ideal but will still hold the cocktail.

Instead of a specialized Strainer, a kitchen sieve can help get the job done.

For those who may not have an Old Fashioned Glass, any short, sturdy glass will maintain the drink’s traditional feel without the need for specific barware.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section covers the key details about making a Maple Bourbon Smash, including ingredients, preparation methods, variations, scaling for larger servings, and the history of the Founding Farmers Maple Bourbon Smash.

What are the necessary ingredients to make a Maple Bourbon Smash?

To make a Maple Bourbon Smash, you need bourbon, maple syrup, orange juice, lemon juice, and orange bitters. Some recipes also call for an orange wheel and fresh rosemary for garnish.

How do you prepare a Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned?

To prepare a Maple Bourbon Old Fashioned, combine bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters in a glass. Add ice and stir until chilled.

Optionally, garnish with an orange peel and a cherry for added flavor.

Can you provide a step-by-step recipe for a Maple Bourbon Sour?

A Maple Bourbon Sour involves mixing bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, and egg white.

Shake ingredients well with ice, strain into a glass, and garnish with a lemon twist. This recipe gives a classic twist to the traditional sour cocktail.

What variations can I try when making a Maple Bourbon cocktail?

Variations of the Maple Bourbon cocktail include adding club soda for a fizz, using different citrus fruits like lime, or incorporating fresh herbs such as mint.

You can also experiment with smoked maple syrup for a unique flavor profile.

How do I scale a Maple Bourbon Smash recipe for a pitcher?

To scale a Maple Bourbon Smash for a pitcher, multiply the ingredients by the number of servings.

For example, for six servings, use 1 1/2 cups of bourbon, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 1/2 cup of orange juice, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and 10-12 dashes of bitters. Muddle the fruit and mix in a large pitcher.

What is the origin of the Founding Farmers Maple Bourbon Smash?

The Founding Farmers Maple Bourbon Smash is a popular cocktail from the restaurant Founding Farmers. It combines bourbon, maple syrup, and citrus. This drink is inspired by farm-to-table and local sourcing principles.

The drink highlights the use of natural ingredients and seasonal flavors.

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