A bag of lemons and a container of basil make lovely bedfellows when they find themselves in the drink with a bottle of Victoria Gin. The resulting love child is called a basil gin smash.
This twist on a classic smash is an aromatic end-of-summer sipper. But good luck just sipping it.
Traditionally, a smash is a short cocktail with a base spirit, sugar, perhaps a touch of lemon or lime, ice and mint. Sometimes a liqueur is used in place of sugar syrup, or a grapefruit gets juiced rather than a lemon. But there is always mint. Unless, of course, you use basil. I prefer basil with gin as it plays nicely with the spirit’s botanicals and I sometimes find mint too overpowering.
Once in the glass the drink performs as a smash ought to; as in, you’ll become what you’re drinking after a couple (ahem, smashed) because they are so good you will chugalug instead of just sipping. Oops.
Basil Gin Smash
- 5 fresh basil leaves, plus sprig for garnish
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 oz gin (I used Victoria Gin)
Add basil leaves, simple syrup and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Gently muddle until the basil is fragrant. Add gin and some ice cubes and shake. Strain into an ice-filled lowball glass and garnish with the basil sprig.
This dink is lovely with Victoria Gin.
The heat is on to complete the fundraising for the new playground at my daughter’s school, which means I’ve returned to my one constant companion through the madness: gin. Our playground committee communed over G&Ts this week, but I kicked it up a notch last night with this tangy, savoury number, a Live Basil Gimlet.
A garden fresh drink, with basil, to celebrate spring (and to help forget about playground fundraising).
I came across the recipe on NYTimes.com after Googling “cocktails with basil, lime and gin.” Traditional gimlets call for sweetened lime juice (e.g. Rose’s Lime = yuck) and a copious amount of gin. In contrast, this lovely recipe shakes a more modest bit of gin with fresh lime juice, muddled basil and simple syrup. I decided to use honey syrup, with great success. It’s a softer, more natural-tasting syrup, that works well with the other ingredients, like the deliciously fresh basil we are growing in our little herb container this year (pictured above).
The Live Basil Gimlet would be a nice drink to headline the 5th annual Inglewood Kitchen Party fundraiser, taking place June 8th at the Inglewood Community Hall to raise money for the aforementioned playground, given that the theme is patio lanterns. Unfortunately, the signature cocktail I made for last year’s party got everyone hammered, so we’re sticking to beer (so people will remember to spend money to support the playground). But do try one of these at home!
Tart and herbaceous, thanks to the gin and basil.
Live Basil Gimlet
- 5 large basil leaves, including one for garnish
- 1-1/2 oz gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
- 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz honey syrup (in a mason jar, combine equal parts honey and hot water; screw on lid and shake until honey is completely dissolved and then cool)
Gently muddle four basil leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the gin, lime juice and honey syrup. Fill with ice, shake vigorously and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with the remaining basil leaf and a lime wheel, if desired.