Adding herbaceous basil takes drinks from sweet to complex, making it one of the best herbs to garnish or craft cocktails.
The type of basil you add to a drink greatly affects the outcome. Some basils produce a sweet flavor, while others skew more spicy. Some cultivars have a bright, citrusy taste.
Cocktails with basil often incorporate fruit since the strong herbal flavors contrast the strong tones of sweet and tart.
Check out these delicious options using the herb in the recipes.
Cucumber Basil Gimlet
One of the most refreshing cocktails with basil, this gimlet pairs the herb with cucumber. These ingredients contrast the tart tones of lemonade and lime juice. Choosing lemon basil enhances the citrus notes, but any basil provides a nice contrast to these cocktails. Since this gimlet calls for vodka rather than gin, the basil introduces an herbaceous element.
Blackberry Basil Mojito
Follow this recipe for a flavorful twist on the classic mojito. First, the recipe incorporates blackberries adding a rich, fruity element to the cocktail. Next, the cocktail swaps mint for basil as the herbal element. This results in a unique-tasting mojito with lots of complex notes.
Gin Basil Smash
This recipe combines robust basil with citrus flavors, bringing out the best of both ingredients. Like other cocktails with basil, this smash-style drink uses only a few elements to bring out a prominent flavor. The gin in this cocktail adds an extra botanical taste that pairs perfectly with the basil.
Basil Lemon Drop
One of the most common problems with lemon drops is the high level of sweetness in the cocktail. Mixing basil into the recipe provides a contrasting herbal flavor that cuts through the sugar content. Follow this recipe to make a pitcher-sized batch of lemon drops with a more complex flavor, perfect for a slightly older crowd.
Bourbon Basil Lemonade
This basil cocktail combines the familiar pairing of citrus and basil. These elements meld with sweet yet strong bourbon, creating a well-balanced lemonade. This recipe provides an excellent choice for making a single-serving cocktail rather than a whole pitcher’s worth of drinks. Plus, this bourbon drink comes together quickly in just a few minutes.
Pineapple Basil Rum Fizz
If you’re interested in cocktails with basil featuring tropical flavors, this recipe makes for a flavorful choice. Another aspect that makes this fizz a standout cocktail is using fresh pineapple to make a tart and fruity puree that makes the drink's base. The tropical tones of the fruit pair perfectly with the complex herb.
Grapefruit Basil Greyhound Cocktail
The greyhound cocktail contrasts basil with grapefruit, adding tart notes, some bitter undertones, and a citrusy sweetness. A small amount of honey adds another sweet element, but it isn’t overpowering, making this an excellent option for those craving a less sugary cocktail. In this drink, the basil brightens up the citrusy character of the drink with an herbaceous flavor.
Strawberry Basil Cocktail
Strawberry and basil shine as one of the most popular combinations, whether you're crafting a cocktail or a salad. The tartness of the fruit highlights the more robust notes of basil while highlighting the sweetness of both ingredients. This cocktail combines the duo with honey, citrus, and vodka, creating a sweet yet balanced drink.
Basil Lime Margarita
Unlike other recipes on this list, this drink pairs basil notes with the distinct flavors of tequila. The spirit showcases a slightly sweet taste of agave along with some more complex tasting notes. These flavors bring out a slight spiciness in the herb, highlighting the basil’s licorice undertones.
Blueberry Basil Gimlet
In this cocktail, pairing fruity notes with herbal ones from basil, blueberry brings out a new layer of flavor with its sweetness and delicately earthy notes. The recipe incorporates both elements into a flavorful simple syrup that gives this gimlet an attractive purple and reddish color. Lime juice in the cocktail brightens these complexly sweet notes, bringing a perfect balance.
Vodka Pineapple Basil Smash Cocktail
This smash recipe provides another tropical option to the list of cocktails with basil. Like the previous drink, this cocktail incorporates basil into its simple syrup. Fresh basil adds another herbal layer while contrasting the vibrant gold drink with a pop of green. This smash is one of the most visually attractive options on the list.
Orange and Gin Basil Smash
Follow this recipe to make a citrusy combination that highlights the robust notes in basil by incorporating dry gin. Lemons and oranges give this cocktail a bright tart element, while a small amount of simple syrup sweetens the drink. Each flavor balances the other and provides a lovely refreshing option when topped with soda water.
Spicy Thai Basil Cucumber Cocktail
If you’re looking for a refreshing yet invigorating cocktail, this drink provides an excellent option. Cucumber juice and lime add a cooling brightness, contrasting the spiciness in the drink. Thai basil, known for its intense and savory flavor, pairs with peppers, putting the heat in this cocktail. Try this spicy option on warm summer nights!
Any of these cocktails with basil make for exciting additions to any party, especially in spring and summer when it’s easier to find the herb fresh. They add complex flavor to drinks that otherwise might come off as one note.
If we missed your favorite cocktail using basil, let us know in the comments below!
13 Basil Cocktail Recipes
- Cucumber Basil Gimlet
- Blackberry Basil Mojito
- Gin Basil Smash
- Basil Lemon Drop
- Bourbon Basil Lemonade
- Pineapple Basil Rum Fizz
- Grapefruit Basil Greyhound Cocktail
- Strawberry Basil Cocktail
- Basil Lime Margarita
- Blueberry Basil Gimlet
- Vodka Pineapple Basil Smash Cocktail
- Orange and Gin Basil Smash
- Spicy Thai Basil Cucumber Cocktail
- Pick your favorite recipe
- Gather all the needed ingredients
- Prep a tasty cocktail in less than 5 minutes
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