Bourbon lovers, rejoice! This blueberry basil bourbon smash makes an excellent and refreshing cocktail. Quality bourbon, fresh blueberries, and basil with a complementary blend of sweet and tart from maple syrup and freshly squeezed lemon. It's a perfect drink for summer!
Updated on July 28th, 2020: New written content, recipe instructions, and photos. Yay! See more details below the recipe.
Originally published on .
I love bourbon. I do. <3
It's one of those liquors I really enjoy having year-round. It's great on its own (whether neat or on the rocks) to warm you up on a cold night. Made with the right blend of warm spices, it will also make a fantastic fall or winter cocktail. But before I get carried away with cold weather talk, it's the end of July and the thermostat is reading 93 degrees Fahrenheit as I type this.
Yes, bourbon is an excellent spirit for those cold and bitter seasons, BUT it's also an amazing base for a summer drink that will help you to cool right off. It's a common misconception that clear spirits are meant for summer and dark are for winter. I'm here to tell you that is very much not true! If you've never experienced a bourbon-based drink during the summer months, let me introduce you to one of my absolute favorites: the delectable blueberry basil bourbon smash.
Tips on Making a Bourbon Smash
The recipe for this cocktail calls for a combination of ingredients that give a perfect balance of sweet and tart:
- maple syrup
You get some tartness from the blueberries and lemon - and the two together lighten the "warmness" of bourbon a bit. The maple syrup works as a great natural sweetener while adding some depth, and the basil brings it all home by adding a fresh layer of subtle herbal flavor.
When it comes to the fruit and basil, fresh is absolute best. Avoid using mushy blueberries or any basil leaves that have started to brown, as this will affect the end result. You won't have a good-tasting smash if you use older produce. Trust.
For the bourbon, I recommend using something you wouldn't mind sipping on its own. Maker's Mark or Eagle Rare are a couple of great options, but feel free to use what you might already have on hand! Something to keep in mind is it doesn't have to be top shelf.
The Right Tools to Make a Great Smash
For proper measuring, muddling, and shaking, you'll need a jigger, muddler, and cocktail shaker. The tools I linked to are what I use at home; I especially love the double jigger and shaker. For muddling, you could substitute the actual tool by using the back end of a wooden spoon (though I'd recommend cleaning the spoon immediately after using so the blueberry doesn't stain it).
Part of the reason I love the Oggi shaker so much is because of its sleek design, but mainly (and more importantly), it does a great job at staying shut while shaking up cocktails and it being stainless steel allows me to know when I don't need to shake anymore (when it begins to frost on the outside).
And there you have it! Maybe you've got these ingredients on hand and a bourbon smash is something you'd like to have tonight? You know I'm going to ask you to let me know how you liked it. So please definitely do that! And as always, drink responsibly. <3
Kitchen Tools Used:
Blueberry Basil Bourbon Smash
- 2-3 fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup
- juice from half a lemon
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 cup ice cubes
- lemon twist, basil leaf, or blueberries for garnish, optional
- Add basil, blueberries, and maple syrup to a shaker and use a muddler to release juices from the basil and blueberries.
- Add in the lemon juice, bourbon, and ice cubes.
- Top shaker with lid and shake for 10-15 seconds, or until the outside of the shaker begins to frost.
- Pour everything into a cocktail glass, garnish, and enjoy!*
Update Notes: This post was originally published on and was republished on July 28th, 2020 with new and improved written content, recipe instructions, photography, and tips. Here's an original photo for this post!