- 3-4 fresh basil leaves
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 2½ ounces gin
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- Basil sprig and lime wheel for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle basil leaves and splash of simple syrup.
- Add ice, gin, lime juice, and remaining simple syrup.
- Shake to chill.
- Strain into rocks glass or a chilled coupe over fresh ice.
- Garnish with basil sprig and lime wheel.
Variations and Substitutions
Unlike a classic gimlet, the basil gimlet has a little more room for variety and experimentation while building toward the optimal flavor.
- You can use vodka or basil-infused vodka in place of gin for a more neutral flavor from the base spirit.
- Infuse vodka or gin with fresh basil for a more pronounced basil flavor. You can also skip muddling basil when using an infused spirit.
- Include a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice for a subtle flavor without taking over the cocktail.
- Use basil simple syrup instead of regular simple syrup.
- Only use one or two basil leaves for just a hint of basil.
Typically, the basil gimlet is garnished with a basil sprig and lime wheel, but you can play around with different ideas.
- Instead of a lime wheel, use a lime slice or wedge.
- A lemon wheel, wedge, or slice adds a contrasting pop of color to the basil sprig. Or you can use all three.
- Make a citrus--lime or lemon--peel or ribbon for a playful look.
- Dehydrated citrus wheels are an unusual but intriguing garnish.
- Spear lime wheels or slices and basil leaves on a cocktail skewer, alternating between each.
About the Basil Gimlet
Although the classic gin gimlet has been kicking around since the 1930s, the basil gimlet didn't shake itself onto the scene until quite a few years later. Muddled mixed drinks like the mojito were popular in the 1930s, but mint was the herb having a moment in the cocktail scene. It took a while before other herbs, including basil, caught on for cocktails later in the 20th century.
For many years, the cucumber gimlet was the most popular variation. Perhaps it didn't spoil as quickly--who hasn't purchased fresh herbs just to have them wilt and brown moments after getting home from the store--but basil wouldn't catch on until much later. However, when it did, basil was the new "It" herb of the cocktail world.
Many who had tired of cucumber and mint quickly migrated to basil, making the basil gimlet a shining star in today's cocktail world.
Herbaceous and Bodacious
The basil gimlet is an unparalleled cocktail, the peppery flavors of basil lighting up the glass in an extraordinary way. Skip the classic gimlet make the most of the fresh basil in your kitchen with an aromatic, vibrant basil gimlet.