Lemon Basil Gimlet

Today’s warm-weather beverage is a great summer cocktail recipe, especially if you love a lemon-herb combination this time of year.  Lemon and basil go great together in this grown-up version of lemonade, and it’s one of my all-time favorite cocktails.

Lemon Basil Gimlet at www.happyhourprojects.com

To make the gimlet, first you will need to learn how to make a herb-infused simple syrup.  I like to make up a large batch, and use it over a few weeks (or when we’re entertaining).  You can modify the infused syrup recipe for nearly any type of herb or leaf, though I am not sure how many herbs you might actually enjoy drinking?  I suppose that’s up to you, haha.  But let me share it with you – like the name, it truly is simple! It’s just an extra step you’ll have to take ahead of time to prepare your drink.

Lemon Basil Gimlet at www.happyhourprojects.com

Basil-Infused Simple Syrup
Serves: 6
Cook time:
Total time:
  • 4-6 leaves of sweet basil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  1. Wash leaves well, and add all ingredients to a small saucepan.
  2. Heat on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves, leaves wilt, and mixture turns clear.
  3. Remove from heat and cool syrup. Allow the leaves to steep during this time - at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove leaves and discard, and store syrup in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
  5. You may multiply this recipe as necessary; this quantity will make approximately 6 oz. of syrup (enough for 6 drinks).

Once you’ve made your syrup, the rest is easy to shake up.  Here’s the drink recipe.
Lemon Basil Gimlet
Serves: 1
Prep time:
Total time:
  • 1.5 oz citrus vodka
  • 1 oz. basil simple syrup
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 basil leaves, plus lemon wedge(s) for garnish
  1. Muddle 2 basil leaves in a rocks glass, and add ice.
  2. Add vodka, syrup, and juice to a shaker with a couple ice cubes, and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into glass, and garnish with a lemon wedge.

Lemon Basil Gimlet at www.happyhourprojects.com

This is really a great recipe for impressing guests, because it’s light and crisp rather than being a really sweet cocktail.  For anyone who wants the virgin version, substituting club soda or even water gives you a fresh twist on summertime lemonade.


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