The Basil Smash is a relatively new drink (well, new in the context of cocktails) with an alluring Hulk-green tint and a real fresh kick. In fact, the addition of fresh basil means that this drink is basically a vegetable, and certainly a welcome way to get one of your five-a-day.
This is a cocktail that suits a sweltering summer day, the sort that leaves you trailing patterns into the condensation on the side of your glass and daydreaming about plunging headfirst into a cool lake.
How we make a Basil Smash:
1 bunch basil leaves (if in doubt as to how much, go heavy on the basil)
25ml fresh lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
Place basil and lemon into a cocktail shaker. Gently muddle the lemon and basil “smashing” the ingredients. Add sugar syrup and gin and top up with ice. Shake vigorously (the phrase “Hulk Smash!” comes to mind). Double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with basil leaves.
An abridged, inebriated history:
The Basil Smash was conceived by Jörg Meyer of the Lion in Hamburg in 2008. The drink quickly became a phenomenon, even winning “Best New Cocktail” at the 2008 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. There are two variants to the drink – one using green and one using red basil.
We agree with cocktail oracle Simon Difford, who suggests that by not muddling the basil you’ll have a fresher-tasting drink. It’s subjective as to whether this makes it better or not, but worth trying it out for yourself to find out!
As well as the suggestions above, we also advise using either Hendrick’s Gin (as we understand it, this was the gin Meyer first used for the Basil Smash) or Berkeley Square Gin, with the latter’s gentle herbal tones shining through in the cocktail.
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