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Entertaining
7 Basil Cocktails for Herbal Sipping

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Basil can do more than freshen up a pizza or add peppery depth to Thai curries. It's also a star player in bright, herbal cocktails, bringing a touch of greenery to rum slushies and fruity vodka sippers. Thai and Italian basil varieties complement flavors in different ways, but both shine when muddled, shaken or infused into these drinks.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

This basil-heavy summertime sipper shows off the herb’s amiable pairing with easy warm weather flavors like watermelon. The lightly sweet basil gets shaken with the juice, honey and lime for a drink so light and joyful it hardly needs booze to inspire good spirits (although it is extraordinary with cachaça or rhum agricole).

The Essentials

basil
honey
watermelon juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Spicier and more herbal than its European counterpart, Thai basil does a lot of work in Thai dishes, but it also creates wonderful flavor in this bright, slushy rum sour. Paired with other mainstays of Thai cuisine, lemongrass and coconut sugar, the herb gives extra depth and character to grassy rhum agricoles, making a green cocktail with more punch than your average green juice.

The Essentials

2 Rums
lemongrass syrup
thai basil leaves
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This insanely vegetal take on a Gin Sour packs a full ounce of celery bitters on top of botanical gin, so it’s got plenty of vegetal flavors even before you start adding herbs. A single basil leaf is all that you need to add some peppery nuance to the wave of fresh green flavor.

The Essentials

Celery Bitters
Gin
Lemon Juice
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Flavored vodkas run the gamut from sweet to spicy to the grassy flavors of basil. Light and delicate when sipped straight, Square One Basil Vodka shines in a basic, citrusy cocktail. Here, mezcal, lemon juice, agave syrup and cilantro build on the unique flavor of the vodka with notes of smoke, tart citrus, and floral sweetness. Elegant, understated and perfectly balanced, it’s about the best lemonade can hope to be.

The Essentials

Vodka
Mezcal
Lemon Juice
Courtesy of DrinksMadeEasy

Blueberries and basil may not be the most obvious pairing, but they complement each other perfectly—the blueberry evoking the sweet side of the herb and the basil bringing a dry minty edge to the fruit. Combined with sugar in a syrup and brightened by lemon juice in this Vodka Gimlet variation, it’s like drinking in a summer garden.

The Essentials

vodka
basil
blueberries
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
The muddling in a Smash is the best way to extract the lively, evocative flavors of fresh produce in a cocktail, and the technique works even better when applied to several ingredients together. In this autumnal Smash, fig and Thai basil are pressed into a complex mash, at once sweet, rich, spicy and grassy, but they're soon joined by splashes of flavor from apple juice and maple syrup (along with vodka for oomph).

The Essentials

vodka
Maple Syrup
Apple Juice
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
It's amazing the difference a garnish can make, especially when that garnish is an aromatic leaf like basil. But a spritely sprig of basil elevates all of the flavors of this crushed ice cocktail, from the sweet strawberry and kiwi, to bright tequila, to spicy rhubarb bitters and ginger beer.

The Essentials

tequila
lime juice
Strawberry purèe

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