Summer, on our side of the globe at least, is all about fresh basil – caprese salads, homemade pesto, and of course – basil cocktails.
The Basil Gimlet is the most perfect and pure of these, with a flavor that tastes like the aroma of fresh basil in the sunshine. For this drink, stick to a neutral or juniper-forward gin; Hendricks and other floral gins will muddy the fresh herbal flavor. Vodka also works here, giving the basil no competition for dominance.
For maximum effect, garnish the drink with a leaf of fresh basil, slapped once between your hands. It keeps the leaf looking pretty, but releases wonderful aromatic oils that enhance the flavor of the drink.
Muddle the basil leaves and the simple syrup in your shaker. Add the other ingredients and some ice, shake, and double-strain through a wire mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe.
To garnish, take a leaf or small sprig of basil. Place it in one hand, and clap your hands together just once. Gently lay the basil on top of the drink, letting it float on the foam.
- Basil Gimlet in PUNCH magazine