Basil Smash Two Ways
We made lasagna this weekend for family dinner and had a lot of leftover basil. Not wanting to waste it, we decided to make two variations of a Basil Smash: one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic.
The alcoholic version is Hamburg bartender Jörg Meyer’s take on the classic Whiskey smash, which he discovered at the now-closed Pegu Club in New York City. Gin and basil replace whiskey and mint as the star ingredients, resulting in a refreshing cocktail that makes us nostalgic for summers visiting family and friends in the country. Smashing the basil and lemon in a metal cocktail shaker is key, as the processes releases the basil flavors. Meyer also claims that shaking the cocktail in a metal shaker makes the final drink greener.
For our non-alcoholic version, we replaced the gin with Seedlip Garden 108, which has distinct notes of peas, rosemary, thyme, spearmint and other garden herbs. The mocktail is smooth in flavor, with each of the ingredients having their own moment to shine. Tastes of lemon are followed by a perfect balance of basil and herbs, and just a hint of sweetness. It’s a refreshing alternative for those looking to cut back on their alcoholic intake after the holidays, as well as for those of us looking forward to warmer days ahead.
Gin Basil Smash (Alcohol Version)
2.5 oz London dry gin
½ fresh lemon
0.5 oz simple syrup
A bunch of fresh basil leaves (10-15 large leaves)
Smash the basil and lemon half in a cocktail shaker. Add the simple syrup, tasting to see if you have the desired balance of sweet and tart. Add the gin and fill the shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain with a fine mesh strainer into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with basil.
Basil Smash Mocktail
2.5 oz of Seedlip Garden 108
0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz simple syrup
10-15 large fresh basil leaves
Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds. Strain as above into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with basil.