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 Chris Milligan, The Santa Fe Barman, who works his magic behind the bar in New Mexico. 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 brings it all into balance.
Even the garnish is fantastic! Milligan suggests wrapping an orange twist around a basil leaf, for a novel finishing touch.
- 4 large basil leaves
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice (fresh)
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces Plymouth Gin
- 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur (St Germain)
- 1 dash orange bitters (Regan’s)
- 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters
- Garnish: basil leaf
- Garnish: long orange twist
Gather the ingredients.
Muddle the basil, lemon juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass.
To garnish, roll up the basil leaf then 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.
- 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.