Make the best blood orange bourbon cocktail with fresh blood orange juice, quality Kentucky bourbon, and a splash of champagne in just five minutes!
And if you enjoy this recipe, you'll love my Kentucky mule cocktail!
What is a bourbon smash?
A smash is any cocktail that muddles or "smashes" fresh fruit with mint and sweetener--traditionally granulated sugar, sugar cubes or simple syrup. The smash evolved from the julep cocktail, which was first created by African American hospitality pioneer, John Dabney--you can read more on that history in my lavender mint julep recipe.
Naturally, the bourbon smash uses Kentucky bourbon as the spirit but you can make a smash with just about any liquor. Try my cherry smash cocktail made with gin or the mixed berry smash made with whiskey!
Why You'll Love this Recipe
Sparkling - I amp up the classic bourbon smash with a splash of champagne for fizzy fun that make this cocktail suitable for any party or special occasion!
Quick & Easy - You only need five minutes from start to finish to craft this seasonal cocktail at home.
Sweet Blood Orange Flavor - Blood oranges are in season from about December to March and lend sweet, juicy flavor and bright pink and purply orange color to this drink in place of lemon, which is the typical fruit for a whiskey smash.
Wondering what alcohol goes with blood orange? Just about any! My blood orange mezcal margaritas are always a good time or you can pair with gin in this smooth blood orange martini or bubbly blood orange gin and tonic!
What You'll Need for this Recipe
Here's what you'll need for my seasonal twist on a classic bourbon cocktail:
Bourbon Whiskey makes the best smash in my opinion but grab whichever whiskey, including scotch, that you enjoy sipping. My top picks are Hudson Baby Bourbon and Uncle Nearest 1856!
Blood Orange Juice fresh from blood oranges sets this cocktail apart. Depending on the variety and ripeness of your oranges, the color will range from a coral to burgundy color.
Dry Champagne adds a nice burst of bubbles. If you don't have champagne, prosecco, cava, or another sparkling wine can work well in a pinch.
Check out the recipe card below for full ingredients list, measurements, nutrition facts, and step-by-step instructions!
Substitutions & Variations
Maple Syrup is my sweetener of choice for this cocktail but you can use what you like, including a zero sugar option, simple syrup, honey syrup, or even agave nectar.
Bubbles - If you want to use less alcohol in this drink recipe or just skip the champagne, try sparkling water, or ginger beer. Just note the taste will be different.
How to Make a Bourbon Smash Cocktail with Blood Orange Juice
Step One: Add blood orange, mint, and maple syrup to a cocktail shaker then press with a muddler to express the flavorful juices and oils.
Step Two: Add bourbon and ice to shaker, cover, shake then strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
Pro Tip #1: Don't have a muddler for step one? Use the end of a wooden kitchen spoon instead!
Pro Tip #2: I use a jigger to measure out the liquid ingredients but if you don't have one on hand, a standard shot glass measures the same as the larger side of a jigger.
Pro Tip #3: The classic smash recipe calls for double straining but I don't mind a lil' pulp. If you want a smoother cocktail, then definitely pour through a mesh strainer into your glass.
Step Three: Top up glass with chilled champagne.
Step Four: Stir the drink then garnish with a slice of blood orange, if desired.
For the visual learners, here's a quick video of me making the cocktail for your viewing pleasure!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can prep this cocktail ahead of time. Just reserve the champagne until ready to serve so that is doesn't go flat.
To make bourbon and blood orange smash cocktails for a crowd, add about 15 mint leaves to a pitcher with three blood oranges, cut into segments, and three ounces maple syrup. Muddle the ingredients then fill pitcher halfway with ice then stir in eight ounces bourbon and one bottle of dry champagne. Serves four.
More Favorite Champagne Drink Recipes
I hope you'll enjoy a blood orange juice and bourbon smash before blood orange season ends. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this easy winter citrus cocktail for later and follow me over on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Blood Orange Bourbon Smash Cocktail
- ¾ blood orange cut into segments with peel on
- 4 leaves fresh mint plus more for garnish
- 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
- ¾ ounce maple syrup or simple syrup
- 2 ounces Dry champagne
- 1 slice blood orange optional garnish
- Cut a blood orange into quarters and add three of the quarters to an open cocktail shaker. Add in the fresh mint leaves and muddle blood orange and mint in order to release the juices and oils. Use the back of a wooden spoon for this step if you don't have a muddler tool.
- Add ice, bourbon, and maple syrup to cocktail shaker and securely place the top on it. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds to fully chill and combine the mixture.
- Add fresh ice to a rocks glass and strain cocktail mixture into it. Top up glass with champagne and stir to incorporate. Garnish with blood orange slice and fresh mint sprig, if desired. Enjoy responsibly!