Basil is originally native to India, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years, but was thoroughly familiar to Theophrastus[ and Dioscorides.
Basil is a half-hardy annual plant, best known as a culinary herb notably featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a key role in Southeast Asian cuisines.
Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.
The round, and often pointed leaves of the basil plant looks a lot like peppermint to which it is a distant cousin. Basil has highly fragrant leaves are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of foods but has become ever popular as the main ingredient in pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.
Basil boasts benefits as being anti-inflammatory, as well as, benefits for cardiovascular health.
Below are four cocktails to make your taste buds jump, while not a typical ingredient for cocktails you will find the basil adds depth to your drinks.
Basil Lime Cooler
Ingredients for the Basil Syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 basil leaves
Ingredients for the Cocktail:
- 1-ounce basil syrup
- 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 3 basil leaves
- 2 to 3 ounces seltzer
Garnish: basil sprig
For the Basil Syrup:
Combine water, sugar, and basil leaves in a small saucepan. Heat over high heat until boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to a simmer and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Basil syrup will keep for one week in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
For the Cocktail:
Combine 1 ounce basil syrup, lime juice, and vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Fill a collins glass with ice, then strain the cocktail into the glass. Add extra basil leaves to the glass, top with seltzer and stir gently. Garnish with straw and basil sprig.
- 2 oz Light Rum
- ½ oz Simple Syrup
- 4 Basil sprigs
Muddle lime and basil leaves, shake with rum & simple syrup, and strain into ice-filled collins glass. Top with soda and garnish with a basil leaf.
Strawberry Basil Margarita
- 4 Strawberries
- ½ oz Triple Sec
- 1 ½ oz White Tequila
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 4 piece(s) Basil
Muddle strawberries in mixing tins. Add all ingredients into glass and stir.
- 2 oz Vodka
- ¾ oz Lime Juice
- ½ oz Simple Syrup
Shake vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup with ice. Strain and serve up in rocks glass. Garnish with basil leaf.