A new take on the classic whiskey smash cocktail, our Apple Whiskey Smash is perfect for Autumn. Use your choice of whiskey or bourbon, a quick and easy homemade cinnamon simple syrup, and sparkling apple cider for the perfect whiskey cocktail.
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A smash cocktail is one that muddles fruit with herbs, traditionally lemon and mint, but can be made to fit every season. This is why we love this recipe for Fall. That and all these reasons...
- Uses any bourbon, whiskey, or rye you like
- Has fresh apples (the ultimate Fall fruit!) and apple cider for double flavor
- A light cinnamon syrup for a hint of sweetness (or use our demerara syrup)
- Fresh sage... because yum!
- Can be made as a batch cocktail for a crowd (i.e. a great tailgating cocktail)
If you like our mezcal mule cocktail or our Fall favorite Cranberry Cocktail, you are going to love this Apple Cider Whiskey Smash!
I used Bulleit Rye Whiskey for this recipe but you can use any whiskey, rye, or bourbon.
You can also use applejack, a spirit derived from apples, not to be confused with apple whiskey which is apple liquor and whiskey mixed together. I find apple whiskeys too sweet, but you can try them if you like!
I highly suggest avoiding other flavored whiskeys like Screwball or Fireball. Their strong flavors will overpower the apple.
In addition to your whiskey of choice you will need:
- Sparkling apple cider- You can use traditional apple cider, but I prefer sparkling for the extra bubbles.
- Apples- Use a juicy apple like a Honeycrisp apple for maximum flavor.
- Fresh Sage
- Lemon juice- optional, but I like the brightness a splash of lemon adds to the drink.
Cinnamon Simple Syrup
- Sugar- I used granulated sugar but to make it healthier use honey just like in our healthy mezcal paloma cocktail.
- Cinnamon sticks
See the recipe card for quantities. The recipe makes two cocktails, to make a large batch of cocktails press the 3x button to increase the recipe quantities.
🥃How to Make a Whiskey Smash
We are going to start by making the cinnamon syrup so it can cool while we make the rest of the cocktail.
Step 1- Cinnamon Simple Syrup
All simple syrups are made by mixing water and sugar in a saucepan heating over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves.
Bring mixture to a simmer, add in the cinnamon stick, and stir occasionally. It'll take just a few minutes to make sure the sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat and let cool completely. Strain or remove the cinnamon stick.
This recipe will make more cinnamon syrup than the cocktail calls for. The remaining syrup can be stored in the fridge for several weeks. All the more reason to make more apple cocktails!
Step 2- Muddle the Fruit and Herbs
Places the apples and sage in your cocktail shaker. Use a wooden muddler to mash the apples and sage together. The goal for the apples is to release their juice and the sage to release its oil.
Step 3- Shake the Cocktail
Add bourbon, simple syrup, and lemon juice to the cocktail shaker. Fill completely with ice. Shake until the outside of the cocktail shaker is very cold to the touch, at least 10 seconds.
Step 4- Serve
Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Whiskey smashes are typically served over crushed ice but cubed ice is fine.
Top with the sparkling apple cider. Garnish with extra sage leaves and apple slices.
🍾Whiskey Smash for a Crowd
This smash cocktail recipe can be easily tripled or more. And it is perfect for making ahead.
My best tip for make-ahead smash cocktail is to combine all the ingredients EXCEPT for the sparkling apple cider in a blender. Pulse a few times but DO NOT puree the fruit. We just want to break it up a bit.
Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain into a pitcher. Chill until you are ready to serve. When serving pour over crushed ice and top with the sparkling apple cider.
You can also serve this whiskey smash cocktail as a punch. Add your chilled and strained cocktail to the punch bowl. Add the apple cider and slices of apples and cinnamon sticks for decoration.
And if you are looking for more crowd-pleasing drinks, check out our 5-gallon homemade hard cider recipe!
More Delicious Cocktail Recipes
💬Frequently Asked Questions
You can make crushed ice by placing your ice cubes in a freezer back and beating them with a rolling pin. Alternately, if you need crushed ice for a crowd you can purchase it for just a few dollars at any Sonic location.
However, this cocktail recipe is perfectly fine served over ice cubes.
No, simple syrup is used in cocktails because cold alcohol will prevent the sugar crystals from dissolving. Unless a recipe specifically calls for sugar or it is a blended drink, stick with the syrup.
Essentially, the Smash is a type of Julep cocktail. The smash has the addition of fruit whereas a Julep just has fresh herbs, typically mint.
You can use a wooden spoon or the end of a french rolling pin.
Apple Whiskey Smash
- 4 oz whiskey
- 1 oz cinnamon simple syrup
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 oz sparkling apple cider
- ¼ apple sliced
- 6 sage leaves
Cinnamon Simple Syrup
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Muddle the apple slices and sage leaves in a shaker.¼ apple, 6 sage leaves
- Add bourbon, simple syrup, lemon, and ice, and shake until well-chilled.4 oz whiskey, 1 oz cinnamon simple syrup, ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with the sparkling apple cider. Garnish with sage leaves and apple slices.1 oz sparkling apple cider
Cinnamon Simple Syrup
- Add sugar, water, and cinnamon into a small pan over medium-high heat and mix together.½ cup water, ½ cup sugar, 1 cinnamon stick
- Bring mixture to a simmer. Heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely. Strain or remove cinnamon stick.
- Whiskey, bourbon, rye, or apple whiskey can be used in this recipe. I do not recommend using cinnamon whiskey such as Fireball.
- Leftover cinnamon simple syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks.
This is a perfect cocktail for fall and winter! It's well balanced and delicious.
Jen Wooster says
Thanks for the review Liz!
Looks great! This cocktail is perfect for Thanksgiving.
This looks like fall in a glass! So pretty.
So glad it turned out perfectly for you.
Jessica Formicola says
Oh my goodness, this cocktail is amazing! We will definitely be making again for Thanksgiving!
That is great to hear!
Such a beautiful fall drink! All those flavors sound amazing and I love how you garnished the top too. Yum!
Seema Sriram says
I will love to try this as I am having some friends over soon. This will be a superhit.