Ginger Basil Cooler

Good morning, friends!

I apologize for my extended absence around here. The last few weeks have been filled with lots of traveling, way too much work, and just general insanity; good thing Crist has been picking up my slack! From this point forward, my summer gets a LOT more relaxed, so hopefully that means I’ll have plenty of time to cook up some new and delicious things for the ole blog. I’ll do my best!

Anyways, you might recall that about a month ago, I paid a visit to Crist in South Carolina. While I was there, we spent our Friday afternoon being Ladies Who Lunch in Charleston (for the uninitiated: Ladies Who Lunch basically throw on a cute outfit and take a long, leisurely lunch in the middle of the day, typically involving a few cocktails. It is enjoyable for obvious reasons – playing hooky from work, cocktails in the middle of the day – but also because it offers such a stark contrast to my typical work day lunch, which involves quickly stuffing some greek yogurt and fruit into my pie-hole while I sit at my desk and process payroll. It’s about as glamorous as you’re imagining). During said lunch, my dear friend Dorothy and I discovered a most delicious cocktail involving ginger, basil, and lime, and we decided immediately that we needed to recreate it at home. So, we ordered up another round (what? it was RESEARCH) and made our shopping list.

As you might imagine, we didn’t really do a lot of measuring as we made our cocktails – so, consider the proportions of this drink recipe to be guidelines. If you want the drink a little stronger, add some more vodka; if you’re not so keen on ginger, cut back on the ginger syrup, and so on and so forth. Just slowly adjust the components, tasting as you go, until you get your preferred combination.

Ginger Basil Cooler
makes one cocktail

4-5 basil leaves (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
juice of one lime
1 oz ginger simple syrup*
2 oz vodka of choice
2 oz club soda

To make your ginger simple syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, and a 2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is totally dissolved. Turn the heat off, and let the mixture cool to room temperature, and then pour it through a strainer into whatever container you want to keep it in (a small pitcher, a squeeze bottle, etc). It will keep, covered and refrigerated, for about a week.

To make your cocktail:

Add the basil leaves and lime juice to the bottom of your cocktail glass. Using a muddler (if you’re fancy) or the handle of a wooden spoon, muddle the basil leaves and lime juice together until the basil is broken up and very fragrant. Top with ginger simple syrup, vodka, and club soda, and stir to combine. Garnish with a basil leaf (or a big, pretty curl of lime zest) if you like!

Flamingo stirrer and polka dot cocktail napkin are optional, but encouraged.

A note from Dorothy: if you are planning to transport the components of this cocktail, say, to the beach, skip the fresh limes and sub in an ounce or two of limeade instead (preferred: Simply Limeade).

In my opinion, this is the perfect summer drink. The fresh basil is light and summery, and it pairs perfectly with the slightly spicy ginger syrup. Try it out for your next barbecue or trip to the beach!

Happy first day of Summer!


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