Friday, August 07, 2009

Basil-y Drink

I met up with my friend C and her boyfriend (who also has an August 5th birthday!) for drinks on Wednesday at a fancy bar/restaurant that normally sell very expensive cocktails and food that I can't afford. However, we selected this place because of their happy hour specials--four dollar food plates and much more affordable prices on cocktails.

Perusing the drink list, I spied the Basil Gimlet. Interesting, I thought to myself. After asking the waitress to cut the sugar down in the drink--I always regret sweet drinks--I found myself sipping a delightfully delicious and herbal drink.

Now, since I'm a bad birthday chronicler, I completely forgot to take a picture of this drink, but I did decide to research it and create it at home. The menu said it was made of basil syrup, lime juice (probably Rose's or equivalent), and vodka.

Gimlets are a cocktail made of either gin or vodka and lime juice. Depending on how much you like your booze, the proportion of spirits to lime can range from 1:1 to 4:1. Pretty stout indeed.

I wanted to recreate the basil gimlet at home, and serve it at my bookclub tonight. Since I'm a bigger fan of using fresh ingredients and not a fan of using Rose's lime juice (likely too sweet), I planned to make a basil-infused simple syrup to add to my unsweetened lime juice and and vodka. Then I remembered that I had some good organic limeade. This couldn't be easier!

I picked some fresh basil from our garden, threw it in a pitcher with vodka, and muddled the leaves. Muddling, for the uninitiated is pretty simple--use a wooden spoon (or the handle of a wooden spoon) and crush the herbs until the oils are released and are, well, muddled into the liquid. (Mojitos are made the same way, but with mint.) I then added an equal portion of limeade, added ice, and served. What I got was a delightfully lime and basil infused drink that I enjoyed quite a lot.

I think the gimlet is going to be my drink for the rest of the summer, both because of name and flavor. Incidentally, the gimlet was named after a naval doctor who wanted a way for sailors to get their vitamin C and avoid scurvy. So it's a drink with health benefits!

Basil Gimlet
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 2 oz. good quality limeade
If making one serving, throw the basil leaves into a glass, add the vodka, and muddle. Add an equal portion of limeade (or less, if you want it a more classic gimlet) and stir. Add ice, and garnish with a basil leaf or lime wedge or both.

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