This Cherry Bourbon Smash is an easy way to bring your bourbon to the next level. With fresh lemon juice, muddled cherries and topped with a cherry soda, this drink is the perfect blend of sweet and sour!
I'll be the first to tell you I am NOT a bourbon kind of gal. However, with this cocktail recipe, the sweetness of the cherries mixed with the lemon juice really balance out and enhance the bourbon flavor.
While I am not always a huge fan of bourbon, I am a huge fan of any Smash cocktail! This recipe is a great option for those with any level of love or hate with bourbon and is the perfect sip for a night in.
What is a Smash Cocktail & How Do I Make One?
A Smash is name given to a cocktail where some type of fruit is “smashed” or muddled. The distinction of a smash is quite free for interpretation as it seems to only need: smashed fruit, liquor, ice, and topped with some type of soda.
A smash may or may not have an herb that’s muddled along with the fruit - the decision is entirely up to you! I think that a Smash is probably one of my favorite cocktails to make because the possibilities are endless!
The flavor that comes from muddling the fruit is really the only added flavor to whatever liquor you choose. The muddled fruit is then shaken with the liquor and strained into an old-fashioned glass, or a shorter cup filled with ice. It’s then topped with some club soda or seltzer.
How to make a cherry bourbon smash
- MUDDLE - You’ll gently “smash” or muddle the cherries along with lemon juice in the bottom of your cocktail shaker. This releases the juice of the cherries and combines with the acidity of the lemon juice to make a perfect sour-sweet combo.
- SHAKE - This drink definitely requires some type of shaking. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker I recommend a 16 OZ mason jar - it’s the perfect versatile multi-use kitchen/bar tool.
- TOP WITH SODA - I used a cherry soda for this one to enhance the cherry flavor, but a traditional club soda or cherry-flavored seltzer would work perfectly for this as well!
Why do I need to muddle the cherries in a cherry bourbon smash?
When you muddle the cherries you gently release the juices inside of them to have a fresh cherry juice for this cocktail. This cherry bourbon smash recipe calls for muddling cherries with fresh lemon juice so that you begin the balance of flavors from the beginning!
What do I do if I don't have a muddler?
If you don't have a muddler, simply use the bottom of a clean wooden spoon to lightly muddle the fruits.
What kind of cherries should i use in a cherry bourbon smash?
- I used frozen cherries because they were not in-season. I made sure my frozen cherries were thawed overnight.
- Fresh cherries are more than fine too - just make sure to pit them.
Cherry Bourbon Smash Tips
- If using frozen cherries, let them thaw at least an hour ahead of making this drink, or even overnight. Because they tend to have more water due to being frozen, you’ll want to make sure to either strain them in the sink or wrap them in a paper towel to dry off as much as possible.
- Use a good quality bourbon. Since the liquor in this drink doesn’t have much to hide behind, this is not the time for a cheaper bourbon!
- Choosing a bubbly soda to top off this Cherry Bourbon Smash can take the drink to the next level! I used a cherry soda, but you could also try a cherry-flavored seltzer to enhance the cherry flavor. If you can’t find either of those, a typical club soda is more than fine too!
- Lemon is a MUST. Because bourbon is sweet and so are cherries, the lemon just is a necessary ingredient to round out the flavor!
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Cherry Bourbon Smash
- Cocktail Shaker
- 1.5 OZ Lemon Juice
- 5 Cherries frozen or fresh/pitted
- 2 OZ Bourbon
- 2 OZ Cherry Soda, Club Soda, or Cherry-Flavored Seltzer
- 1 Toothpick
- 3 Cherries
- In the bottom of your cocktail shaker or mason jar, add the cherries and lemon juice. Gently muddle until the cherries are broken apart.
- Add the bourbon and ice. Shake for about 15-seconds.
- Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
- Top with cherry soda or club soda.
- Garnish by spearing 3 cherries with a toothpick and placing on top.