I do love a gimlet cocktail now and then, and today I’m going to try another gimlet recipe. This Thai Basil Gimlet seemed like the ideal follow-up to the Northern-Style Vegan Thai Coconut Soup I just reviewed. The addition of Thai basil sounds like it fits with the Thai-inspired theme, and it’s something new for me to try. This recipe and the Thai basil, that is—I’ve never tried either one. Let’s find out if I like them!
Thai basil adds spicy, anise-like notes to a gimlet. Together with lime, elderflower liqueur, and good quality gin, the Thai basil gimlet is a cool twist on an elegant classic.
On the surface, this sounds like a simple recipe. It has only five ingredients, and I had three of them on hand. That left me to buy the limes and Thai basil, so no problem, right? Wrong. So, so wrong.
Whole Foods’ online system said they had the limes and Thai basil. Unfortunately, the shopper later texted that they were out of Thai basil and offered to substitute regular sweet basil. I turned it down and started looking for Thai basil elsewhere.
Wal-Mart had it, at least according to their online system, so I sent my husband to get it. They didn’t have it. But he knows of a couple of Asian grocery stores on his way home from work, so he decided to stop at one the next evening. No luck there.
The following evening, now day three of the search for Thai basil, he stopped at the second Asian grocery store. No luck there, either. I gave him extra credit points for stopping at three places, but I gave up on finding this ingredient.
The next week, I decided to order Thai basil from Whole Foods again. I didn’t expect them to actually have it, but lo and behold, there was a package of it in my grocery delivery. All that trouble for a $3 item. But I got it!
After all it took to get the Thai basil, you might be thinking this recipe was difficult to make. I’m happy to say it was very easy and went according to the instructions, and my Thai basil gimlet was ready in four minutes.
I began by adding six basil leaves to a cocktail shaker. Then I squeezed the lime juice and measured it and the simple syrup (recipe below) into the shaker with the leaves. A quick muddle to bruise the leaves was next, followed by the remaining ingredients.
Once everything was in the cocktail shaker, I added some ice and gave it a vigorous shake for 30 seconds. Then I strained the mixture into a cocktail glass and added a sprig of basil to garnish.
I did notice that my Thai Basil Gimlet was much greener than the photo. It also had tiny specks of basil leaves in it even though I was very gentle with the muddler. I’m guessing that I shook it a little too vigorously, and the ice cubes pulverized the Thai basil. Oh well, it was still a gorgeous cocktail!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar of your choice (I use organic sugar, which gives the syrup an amber tinge)
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the sugar. Stir until dissolved (the mixture will become clear when the sugar is dissolved).
- Remove from heat and allow to cool. The simple syrup can be refrigerated in a bottle or other airtight container for up to 4 weeks.