A Basil Vodka Gimlet? Well, I need to do something with all of my summer basil! I've always been a fan of cocktails with fresh herbs and basil is one of my favorites. It's wonderful in drinks like the basil mojito or orange basil mimosa, but one of my absolute favorite ways to use it is in a cocktail.
Made with homemade basil-infused vodka and fresh lime juice, this gimlet is very similar to the classic recipe, but with a wonderfully fresh herb flavor that makes it extra special. I love this drink when I want something refreshing and light, but with a bit of an herbal kick.
You can make this recipe with store-bought vodka, but the homemade basil-infused vodka adds a nice, fresh taste. If you don’t have time to infuse your own, you can use any brand of vodka you like.
The Best Basil Gimlet Cocktail Recipe!
A gimlet is basically a classic gin cocktail made with gin and lime juice. I’m switching things up here by using our homemade basil-infused vodka instead of gin for this basil gimlet.
Gimlets were first invented by British sailors who needed to drink their lime juice while at sea to prevent scurvy. The original gimlet was made with just lime juice and gin but now we add simple syrup (or Rose’s lime juice) for sweetening.
While many people drink vodka and gimlets, it wasn't until the 1950's that the official recipe for a gimlet became popularized by Raymond Chandler's novel "The Long Goodbye." In Europe, vodka is often mixed with fruit juice or flavoring syrups as opposed to lime juice.
I've been using this recipe for years and it's still my favorite.
The trick to making a great gimlet is to mix the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice, and then pour the entire contents into your serving glass (I use a martini glass). This way, you get both the flavor and texture of the ice in the drink. For extra texture, I like to garnish with basil leaves.
I hope you love these as much as we do! Enjoy!
- Freshly squeezed lime juice brightens up the drink. I recommend using fresh lime juice for this recipe, but you can use bottled lime juice in a pinch.
- Basil leaves are great for a garnish but also can be added at the beginning to add an additional herbaceous note to the drink.
- Basil-infused vodka is as easy as it sounds — just add several basil leaves (washed and dried) to your vodka of choice, then let it sit for a few hours, check out my recipe if you'd like to make some yourself!
- Simple syrup is again easy to make yourself. You'll need one part water and one part granulated sugar (white or raw). Combine them in a saucepan over medium heat; stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let your syrup cool to room temperature before using.
First, make a simple syrup by simmering 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar over medium heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat to cool.
Next, muddle the basil leaves in a cocktail shaker using the back of a spoon. Add vodka and lime juice and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add a splash of simple syrup to taste.
Garnish with a basil leaf before serving.
Once you make this recipe, you’ll want to make it all summer long. This is one of my favorite cocktails with vodka because of the freshness of the basil and the brightness of the lime. Plus, making your own infused vodka is super easy so you can have a bottle in your freezer at all times!
More Summer Basil Vodka Cocktail variations
Homemade flavored vodkas are easy for home cooks to make because they are so easy and it’s fun to experiment with different flavors. You can make them as strong or as subtle as you like, which is great for experimenting. For this recipe, I made a very subtle basil flavor so that it wouldn’t be overpowering. Here are some more ideas for other easy basil cocktails:
To make a basil-lime margarita, add a handful of basil leaves and one cup of fresh lime juice to your blender, along with 1 cup of tequila, ½ cup of Cointreau, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Fill the blender with ice, then blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with lime slices.
To make a pomegranate basil margarita, puree a handful of basil leaves, 2 cups of pomegranate juice, 1 cup of tequila, and the juice from two limes in your blender. Add ice and blend until smooth, then pour into glasses and garnish with lime slices.
To make a strawberry basil margarita, combine 1 cup each of chopped strawberries and fresh lime juice in your blender. Add 2 ounces of simple syrup and 5 or 6 basil leaves to the blender and pulse until pureed. Then add 1 cup of tequila, 2 ounces triple sec, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the blender. Add ice and blend until smooth, then pour into glasses with sugar around the rim for garnish.
More Cocktail Combos with fresh herbs
When it comes to herbs, basil has one of the most distinctive flavors. It's a very strong flavor that is used throughout the world in a wide range of dishes.
Because basil is so distinctive, it can overpower other flavors in a drink if you're not careful. It's important to pair basil with ingredients that can stand up to its intense flavor.
- Basil and cucumber are a classic pairing, offering summery freshness
- Basil and grapefruit make an interesting flavor combination that's also an eye opener in the morning
- Mint and basil together will give you a mojito-like drink
- Blackberries and basil yield a refreshing, low-calorie cocktail
- Orange juice blends well with basil for a sweet but not overly sweet drink
- Pineapple makes a fun base for a basil cocktail for tiki night
Different types of basil are used in different cocktails. For instance, Thai Basil and Lemon Basil would be used for a margarita or mojito while the more traditional sweet basil is used in a basil lemonade.
Rosemary is often paired with vodka because it has subtle notes of pine and citrus that go well with the aroma.
Basil, like most herbs and spices, can be used in drinks. It is usually added to cocktails along with other ingredients such as lemon, ginger, and honey.
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 5–6 fresh basil leaves
- 2 ounces of basil infused vodka
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the infused vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup.
- Shake well and strain into a chilled glass filled with fresh ice.
- Garnish with a basil leaf and serve immediately.
- Use fresh lime juice. Most people agree that fresh lime juice is better than bottled stuff. It's not always convenient to squeeze limes, but the flavor isn't quite the same when you use bottled lime juice.
- Garnish with basil leaves. The basil leaves add a pretty touch to this drink and look more enticing. You can also muddle them slightly before shaking if you want to release their oils for more flavor in the glass itself.
- Double-strain for a smooth cocktail. Passing your cocktail through a fine strainer twice will help remove any tiny pieces of basil and other solids that remain after shaking the drink in a cocktail shaker. This will give you a smooth texture and prevent small particulates from getting into your glass.
- Use simple syrup instead of sugar. Simple syrup is easier to incorporate into your drink than regular sugar.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 174Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 14gProtein: 3g