I had to Goldilocks my way into San Francisco: my first neighborhood was too preppy, the next one a bit too sketchy, but the third one—Hayes Valley—was just right. I moved there in a time of major transition, before the fancy park and outdoor beer gardens. I quickly became attached to the local businesses from inspired jewelry shops to the quirky The Orbit Room. That bar taught me what a proper drink should be like and that being a regular is well worth it. They also taught me how good basil and bourbon taste together. I’ve modified the drink to include Gin instead of bourbon but still love it very much, and I hope you also love this Cucumber Basil Gimlet Cocktail recipe.
Cucumber Basil Gimlet Cocktail Recipe
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar or honey plus 1 teaspoon for cucumber juice
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves plus 4 leaves for cocktail
- 4 Persian cucumbers ends trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice divided
- 2 ounces Hendricks Gin
- 3/4 ounce cucumber juice
- 3/4 ounce Basil simple syrup
- For the Basil Simple Syrup: Whisk together 3/4 cup of water with 2/3 cups of sugar or honey in a small saucepan then place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, add the 2 cups of basil leaves, and set aside at room temperature to cool, at least 30 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, discard basil, then cover simple syrup, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
- For the cucumber juice: Combine cucumber, 1/4 ounce of the lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey in a mini food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Strain through a mesh sieve, pushing on the back to extract juices (you should have about 1/2 cup).
- For the cocktail: Reserve one basil leaf for garnish then place remaining three basil leaves in a shaker and bruise a few times with a muddler. Add 3/4 ounce cucumber juice, 3/4 ounce Basil Simple Syrup, remaining 1/4 ounce lime juice and add ice. Shake until chilled then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Smack reserved basil leaf between your hands over the glass (to release essential oils) then float on the cocktail’s surface and serve.