Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Bourbon Cocktails

Sweet Tea Smash

Sweet Tea Smash in a collins glass with ice, garnished with a mint sprig
Image: / Tim Nusog

Sweet tea is a summertime treat enjoyed throughout the South and elsewhere during backyard hangouts, quiet conversations and anytime one requires a delicious respite from the heat. The same can be said for whiskey. Put the two together, and you get the Sweet Tea Smash, a drink greater than the sum of its parts.

The Sweet Tea Smash was created at Please Don’t Tell (aka PDT) in New York City, the famed speakeasy-style bar with a phone booth entrance. While PDT is known for its creative concoctions, the Sweet Tea Smash is quite simple. The summery cocktail merges Tennessee whiskey, with iced tea, Strega (an Italian liqueur made from 70 herbs and spices), sugar, lemon and mint. The latter two ingredients are muddled in a shaker, or smashed, hence the drink’s name.

A good smash requires a good muddler. You want to compress the lemon wedges to release their juices and also the rich oils in the peel. But be careful to press the mint rather than shred it. Destroying mint leaves releases a bitterness you don’t want in your cocktail.

Fix this refreshing drink when the sun is high and the weather is warm. Make two if you’ve got company, then find a nearby porch and let life slow down a little more with each sip.


  • 2 lemon wedges

  • 4 mint leaves

  • 1 ounce George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee whiskey

  • 1 teaspoon Strega

  • 1 ounce unsweetened iced tea

  • 1 teaspoon cane syrup

  • Garnish: mint sprig


  1. In a shaker, muddle the lemon wedges and mint leaves.

  2. Add the whiskey, Strega, iced tea and cane syrup with ice, and shake until well-chilled.

  3. Strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a sprig of mint.