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To me, basil is one of those quintessential summertime ingredients. When the heat of July and August hits, my patio is full of productive basil and other culinary herbs. And when the sun goes down at the end of the night and I feel like unwinding? Hello, basil cocktail!
These cocktails with basil are creative, fresh and complex, with plenty of beautiful flavor combinations making use of great basil pairings.
Ready to put your latest basil harvest to great use? Keep reading!
What Does Basil Taste Like in a Drink?
The world of basil is vast, with a significant variation in flavors depending on the variety of basil you’re using.
However, most of the cocktail recipe instructions below call for regular sweet basil (i.e. Genovese basil) or Thai basil.
Sweet basil has a sweet, slightly pepper or clove-like flavor to it that pairs well with plenty of fruits that work well together in the cocktail shaker. Thai basil has more of a sweet anise or liquorice like flavor to it – which also goes well with a variety of alcohols when making a basil cocktail!
What Alcohol Goes Well with Basil?
The cocktails below call for a wide range of alcohol to pair with basil, but clear spirits are the most common.
These include pairing basil with gin, vodka, Prosseco, and soju. White rum also works with basil in a basil mojito or daiquiri, and tequila or mezcal works for a basil margarita.
What You’ll Need to Make these Basil Cocktails
Most of these cocktail recipes are fairly simple, and require only basil cocktail or bartending equipment:
- Cocktail glass
- Cocktail shaker
- Muddlers are great to muddle ingredients, but a wooden spoon can be used in a pinch
- Mesh strainers or sieves for straining ingredients
19 Basil Cocktails (& Mocktails): Try these Cocktails with Basil Tonight!
Who doesn’t love a cocktail (or mocktail)? While mixers are fun once in a while, I personally love cocktails made with fresh ingredients, such as freshly squeezed juices, homemade simple syrup, and - of course - fresh herbs. If you're looking for some new favorite recipes to amp up your cocktail game, keep reading and find a basil cocktail to fall in love with! Basil pairs well with many different flavors and works surprisingly well within a cocktail. If you're looking to mix it up a little in the drinks department, these drinks with basil are here to inspire.
Gin Basil Smash
A Gin Basil Smash is probably the most classic basil cocktail out there! They are so simple to make with just 5 ingredients (gin, simple syrup, fresh basil leaves, lemon juice and ice), and are a great cocktail if you love basil. Elevate your weekend cocktail game with muddled basil and zesty lemon juice paired with gin in this wonderful basil cocktail. It might quickly become one of your favorite recipes for your basil leaves!
Strawberry Basil Gin Smash
What's more refreshing than a gin basil smash? How about a strawberry gin basil smash! This recipe uses muddled basil with fresh strawberry and lemon to make a citrusy, berry and basil purée that goes delightfully with the gin. This basil cocktail is quick and easy to make, and is sure to become a firm favorite It will become a firm favorite when it comes to using up basil leaves from your latest harvest.
Mango Thai Basil Infused Liqueur Tutorial and Siam Sunset Cocktail Recipe
This basil cocktail takes a bit of pre-planning, as it requires you to infuse your own mango-Thai-basil-liqueur. As long as you plan a bit in advance, you can make an epic cocktail whereby the distinctive, slightly sweet flavor of Thai basil and the soft, sweetness of mango balance one another out perfectly. Perfect for the summer months!
Strawberry-Basil Tom Collins
Strawberries and basil pair incredibly well together, so it's no wonder you'll find a fair number of drinks with basil and strawberry out there. This basil cocktail is sweet, citrusy, and ultra refreshing, putting a unique, sophisticated spin on a classic gin cocktail. It gets a lovely, dainty pink hue, from homemade basil strawberry simple syrup. Paired with garden-fresh basil leaves and ripe strawberries, this drink with basil is full of summer's best flavors and always sure to impress. Break out your fanciest cocktail glass and give this one a try!
Cantaloupe, Elderflower, and Basil Mocktail
Light, sweet, fresh and bubbly... be sure to reach for this cantaloupe, elderflower and basil mocktail this summer! A non-alcoholic drink recipe, this mocktail is a great choice for summer picnics, afternoon entertaining, and any situation where you want the fanciness of craft cocktail drinks, without the alcohol. The melon is quite sweet, giving the basil a chance to shine, offering an earthy depth to the cocktail flavor. This recipe is for a mocktail but you could easily add a spirit to this (like vodka) if you wanted.
Summery Peach Basil Gin Floats
Gin makes incredible cocktails, and this fresh basil drink combines boozy, slushy, and fizzy in one delicious summertime drink. Peach - like strawberry - pairs incredibly well with basil, and you could even experiment using lemon basil or lime basil, in place of regular Genovese (if you have it). These Peach Basil Gin Floats are a delicious and easy way to refresh yourself or your guests on a hot summer night, so break out the cocktail shaker and give it a try!
Watermelon Basil Margarita | Chili Sugar Rim
Refreshing, hydrating watermelon paired with fresh sweet basil...and tequila. This cocktail offers a little taste of spicy, smokey, and sweet with each sip....something for everyone, right? Watermelon is such an easy fruit to transform into a cocktail, and pairs beautifully with basil, which adds depth and an extra oompf of summertime to the flavor. Delicious!
Easy Basil Gin Lemonade Cocktail Recipe (Vegan & Gluten Free)
Basil lemonade is an amazing basil drink on its own, but adding gin into the mix? Oh my! This gin basil lemonade is both fresh AND refreshing. It combines the sourness of lemon juice, the sweetness of agave syrup (which is a nice switch from simple syrup), and the herbaceous flavors of gin and basil.
Frozen Basil Bellini Mocktail Recipe
Made with frozen peach puree and basil simple syrup, this is the perfect summer mocktail drink recipe. To transform it into a cocktail, you can add Prosecco, as is traditional in a Bellini, or gin or vodka to switch it up. Garnish with more fresh basil leaves for a super tasty basil drink!
Spicy Jalapeno Basil Moscow Mule
This Moscow Mule has a spicy and herbaceous twist, and is such a fragrant cocktail! The herbaceous nature of the basil, the spicy and warmth of the ginger beer, the zesty freshness of lime juice, and the spicy kick of the jalapeno...the ingredients in this drink recipe all add up to make quite the taste sensation.
Cucumber Basil Lemonade
Another lovely basil lemonade with alcohol recipe, this time with the added freshness of cucumber. Combining homemade lemonade with cucumber with cucumber juice (fairly easy to make with a blender and sieve to double strain the pulp out), fresh basil leaves, ice, and vodka, this drink recipe is great for a hot evening. If cocktails aren't your thing, you can easily make this a mocktail by leaving the alcohol out.
Sparkling Summer Blackberry Basil Cocktail
The addition of fresh summer berries is always a winner when it comes to making craft cocktails. This drink features blackberries and blackberry basil simple syrup to give it a summery, fresh flavor, as well as elderflower liqueur. Fresh basil, honey, blackberries, and elderflower make this cocktail a refreshing sip of summer!
Strawberry-Basil Limoncello Martini
Could this be the perfect summer martini? Combine homemade strawberry basil simple syrup with the zesty kick of limoncello, along with vodka, fresh lemon juice, and ice in the cocktail shaker, and voila - it couldn’t be more delicious! Sweet, fragrant basil, and zesty make this a lovely summertime martini.
Fresh Basil Vodka Gimlet Cocktail
This basil drink uses homemade basil-infused vodka and fresh lime juice to offer up a refreshing and light twist on the classic gimlet recipe. It has a wonderfully fresh herb flavor from the basil that makes it extra special. This is the perfect choice of cocktail for when you want something sophisticated, light, and refreshing, with a bit of an unexpected and herbal kick to it.
Vodka Watermelon & Basil Granita
You know those days and nights when it's so hot out, you wouldn't dare turn on the oven? This drink recipe is perfect for days and nights like that! On days like that, the only logical thing to do is to make this beautiful watermelon ad basil granita, and enjoy it somewhere cool.
Grapefruit & Basil Mezcalini
This mezcalini recipe is super simple, but with sophisticated and unexpected flavors. The mezcal offers a lovely smokiness, which is well balanced by the tart sweetness of the graefruit, and the herbal spice of sweet basil. The result is several layers of perfectly balanced flavor in one lovely cocktail!
Spicy Honeydew and Basil Margarita
This fresh, fruity and spicy margarita recipe uses honeydew, fresh basil and lime for a lovely flavor combination. It's a little bit sweet and a little bit spicy, making it complex yet refreshing. Serve it on the rocks on a hot summer evening with friends and family, and earn bragging rights as a master craft cocktail maker among your circle of friends!
Strawberry, Ginger, and Basil Soju Cocktail
This soju, strawberry, ginger and basil cocktail is easy and delicious! Grab a bottle of soju from your local Korean supermarket, and find out for yourself why this is one of the most popular spirits in the world. Combining fresh ginger for a sharp kick, strawberries for a sweet freshness, and basil, it packs a flavorful punch!
Honey, Rhubarb & Basil Mocktail
Another gorgeous pink-hued mocktail recipe that's great for summer, this rhubarb, honey and basil drink is fresh and light. It's super easy to make, and is a great non alcoholic choice for parties and BBQs over the summer, making creative use of rhubarb! Designed as a mocktail, you could add vodka if you wanted to serve up a hard version of this drink.
(This article was originally published on August 1, 2022 and was last updated on August 1, 2022)