Basil-ica Cocktail

Basil-ica Cocktail
Alexandra Grablewski / Photodisc / Getty Images
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
224 Calories
0g Fat
17g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 224
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 11mg 54%
Calcium 15mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 42mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The basil-ica cocktail is a good choice if you are looking to try something unique. It offers the distinct flavor of basil against a sweetened gin and elderflower mix, making it a perfect cocktail for your spring and summer sipping pleasure.

The recipe is the creation of New Mexico bartender, Chris Milligan. In it, fresh basil is paired with Plymouth Gin instead of a London dry because Plymouth's fruity profile works so well against herbs. The elderflower and two bitters are just the icings on the cake that bring it all into balance.

Even the garnish is impressive. Milligan suggests wrapping an orange twist around a basil leaf, for a novel finishing touch.


  • 5 large basil leaves, divided

  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

  • 2 ounces Plymouth Gin

  • 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur

  • 1 dash orange bitters

  • 1 dash Peychaud's Bitters

  • Long orange twist, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Muddle 4 basil leaves, lemon juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass.

  3. Add the gin, elderflower liqueur, and bitters. Fill with ice.

  4. Shake for 10 to 12 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

  5. To garnish, roll up the extra basil leaf, wrap the orange twist around it, and place it inside the glass. Serve and enjoy.


  • Fresh basil offers a better flavor for cocktails than the dried herb. Even freezing, which is recommended for preservation, is best reserved for food.
  • To ensure you have fresh basil available for your drinks, consider adding it to your garden. Even if just in your kitchen window, it's an easy plant to grow.
  • Milligan suggests rich simple syrup for this recipe, so mix your sugar and water in equal parts (1:1 ratio).
  • Fresh lemon juice is always preferred for the best tasting cocktails, particularly ones like this that offer soft, fresh flavors. The average lemon should yield 1 3/4 ounces of juice, which is more than enough for one basil-ica cocktail.

Recipe Variations

  • If you prefer, make a basil-infused simple syrup and skip the muddle. This is a good choice if your herbs are starting to wilt but you want to preserve their flavor. Simply use the basic simple syrup recipe and add five or so basil leaves, letting it steep until the syrup cools.
  • Though Plymouth Gin is recommended, that doesn't mean other styles of gin won't work. You might want to try something with a softer profile than the average London dry, though. Think of brands like Hendrick's, Aviation, or The Botanist and explore your options from there.
  • This recipe would also be an excellent use for sage if you have that herb and run out of basil.

How Strong Is a Basil-ica?

The strength of the basil-ica is equivalent to the average martini that includes a few nonalcoholic mixers. Typically, it will shake up to about 23 percent ABV (46 proof). It's not the lightest drink, which is good to keep in mind because one too many can get you drunker than expected.