I love entertaining in the summer time. On a sunny day, the afternoon stretches out ahead of you and everyone is relaxed and happy. Other times of the year entertaining is often linked to events such as birthdays and holidays and can be stressful, but in summer you have a few friends over on a nice day, just because it's a lovely thing to do. It's casual, and having some burgers on the barbeque is a totally acceptable dinner.
Getting the party started with a cocktail is also a great idea. Cocktails are all the rage now, and it's fun to have a signature one for your party. This basil gimlet is a lovely summer drink, and another way to use up all the basil taking over your garden. Personally, I love an ice cold gin martini, so these basil gimlets were fantastic for me. And I can't believe I'm saying this, but if the drink is too strong for you, you can always top it up a bit with soda water.
Now don't do what I did and forget to strain out the basil. I was so excited to get the pictures of the drinks taken that I missed that step. I handed my husband the glass and he looked a little confused as to how to drink it. I headed back to the kitchen to strain it, but then sipping it was delightful. The basil is assertive, but not overwhelming, and my husband and I really enjoyed it. This recipe makes enough for two drinks, so if you are having a few friends over, you can make a pitcher of them.
To make the simple sugar syrup you just put a cup of water and a cup of white sugar into a pot. Bring it to a boil and heat just until all of the sugar has melted. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. You can refrigerate what you don't use and keep it for another day. Simple syrup is used in lots of cocktails so if you are interested in experimenting with new and interesting drinks, it's worthwhile to keep some on hand.

This recipe is from The Guardian, July 5, 2014.

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Total time: 5 minutes 

Yields: 2 servings

Basil Gimlet


  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 3 tbsp simple sugar syrup
  • 5 oz gin
  • Ice cubes
  • 2 lime slices, to serve
  • 2 basil leaves, to serve
  1. Lightly crush, or "muddle", your basil in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until some juices are released. Add the lime juice, sugar syrup and gin.
  2. Fill to the top with ice and shake for 30 seconds. Strain twice into two chilled glasses, and garnish with a lime slice and a basil leaf.

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