Bourbon Peach Smash with Brown Sugar
August 24, 2021
Bourbon and peaches are made for each other. They are a match made in the heaven of a shady front-porch swing on a dripping hot summer day. And this cocktail celebrates their syrupy and sweet partnership, with the addition of brown sugar. There’s nothing complicated here, just a good old-fashioned peach bourbon smash.
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I’m a bourbon drinker. So I know that when I am mixing up a cocktail with my favorite American whiskey for others, I sometimes need to be a little bit cautious. I wasn’t here. This one is not for the faint of heart. It’s strong, boozy, sweet, and refreshing all combined together.
I love the honey color, the bits of peach puree, and of course the fun little brown sugar-dusted peach slice as a garnish. It feels both simple and classy, which is exactly what I’m looking for out of my cocktails.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for this bourbon peach smash at your grocery store:
- Produce: Peach
- From the Bar: Bourbon (I like Maker’s Mark or Woodford Reserve), Soda water, Peach bitters
- Pantry: Brown sugar
- Equipment: Muddler, Bar spoon
How to Make a Bourbon Peach Smash
My first piece of advice when it comes to a cocktail like this that’s mostly bourbon: choose a bourbon you like. Maker’s Mark is a classic in my family and it tends to be my go-to choice at a great price point. But it does tend to have a bit of a bite, and it’s not the only option.
I definitely suggest a syrupy and sweet or possibly wheated bourbon here. For something a little smoother that will cost a bit more, try Woodford Reserve, Maker’s 46, or Weller 12.
The other piece of this drink that makes a major difference is high-quality peaches. Your best bet is to get one right when they are in season, so it will be fresh and juicy. For this recipe, a peach that is just slightly overripe will muddle better than one that is harder.
I suggest making two of these at once so you can easily use up an entire peach. Grab a good sized one, close to three inches in diameter. Give it a good wash and then slice the peach in half right along the seam around the pit. Twist it to separate the two halves, and then use a paring knife to remove the pit.
Slice off a wedge from each half that is about half an inch wide. Set this aside because you will use it for the garnish later. Use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the skin for the rest of the peach half, and then add it to your glass with brown sugar.
Like many other muddled drinks, this one is built in the glass. That makes it super easy to make any adjustments for personal preferences, such as adding a bit of extra sugar here if you like your cocktails sweeter.
Muddle the peach and sugar together thoroughly in the glass. You really want to break up and smash that peach flesh into a nice puree. Meanwhile, the brown sugar will dissolve into the peach juice that is released, so you can see why you’d want to have a really ripe peach for this.
Once it’s fully crushed and muddled, add ice to fill the glass about halfway. If you like a stronger drink, you can use standard ice cubes or even a giant cube. However, smaller pieces will dissolve faster in the drink, if you prefer it more diluted.
On top of the ice, add your bourbon and a few dashes of peach bitters. If you are not able to find bitters, these are optional, but I think even just the small amount can help add a little extra layer of flavor to this cocktail.
Use a bar spoon to stir everything together. The ice in the glass will help catch the peach puree so it doesn’t all just sink back to the bottom. This means you’ll have a nice, well-distributed drink.
Finally, fill the glass to the top with soda water. The carbonation adds a little bit of texture here, making the whole drink sparkle. You can give the drink another small stir so the bourbon is more uniform throughout, but don’t disturb the bubbles too much.
Now grab that peach wedge you set aside earlier. Sprinkle it with a little bit of extra brown sugar, and add it to the top of the glass as a garnish. You can cut a small slit out of the center to rest it on the edge of the glass, or simply use a cocktail skewer like I did here.
Looking for something strong and summery? This Bourbon Peach Smash is the perfect balance of sweet and boozy!
How to Serve a Bourbon Peach Smash
This cocktail screams summer, since that’s when you can usually get the best quality peaches. Enjoy it on a hot summer day, while just relaxing and chatting with friends. For a light snack, drink this alongside lemon curd sandwich cookies or apricot ricotta toast.
You can also use this cocktail as a different take on a boozy brunch. Why not try it with other stone fruit treats like peach cobbler biscuit sticky buns, a honey pavlova with chai-poached plums, or nectarine and cream cheese stuffed french toast.
If you are enjoying this at a cocktail party, don’t forget to serve something non-alcoholic as well, so everyone can appreciate peachy goodness. A mango peach iced tea spritzer is the perfect alternative.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Bourbon is one of my favorite liquors to use in cocktails. Try it in a chocolate old fashioned or a classic mint julep. You can also bake with it, like in pecan bourbon cookie bars.
- Leftover peaches can be used in so many delicious treats, but my favorite is a peach crisp with corn and caramel.
- Extra soda water is a classic cocktail ingredient, like in raspberry lemon mojitos.
- Brown sugar makes cookies soft and chewy, like fun mini skillet chocolate chip cookies.
Bourbon Peach Smash with Brown Sugar
- ½ Peach divided
- 2 tsp Brown Sugar plus more for garnish
- 2 oz Bourbon
- 2 dashes Peach Bitters
- 4-6 oz Soda Water
- Cut a ½-inch wedge off the peach and set it aside. Scoop the rest of the peach flesh out of the skin and add into the bottom of a 12-oz glass.
- Add in the brown sugar and muddle until the peach is smashed and juicy, and the sugar is dissolved.
- Top with ice to fill glass about halfway. Then add in the bourbon and peach bitters and stir to combine. Top with soda water as desired, and give another quick stir.
- Sprinkle the peach wedge you have set aside with a little bit of brown sugar, and add it to the side of the glass or on a skewer. Serve immediately.
- This is a strong drink: If you are not used to drinking bourbon or whiskey, you may find this drink to be stronger than you'd like. It's about the same level of strength as an Old Fashioned or Mint Julep. You can halve the amount of bourbon and replace it with extra soda water to make it a bit weaker, or try adding more brown sugar to taste.
- Bourbon: This drink tastes best with a sweet and syrupy bourbon. I like Maker's Mark, or for something a bit smoother, Woodford Reserve.