Gin Basil Smash — A young cocktail from Germany
The Basil Smash or Gin Basil Smash is one of the new classics. It was invented almost simultaneously by bartenders in Ulm and Hamburg.
Gin Sour serves as the base. The addition of basil makes for a unique touch. The recipe spread rapidly, and the Basil Smash is one of the hottest cocktails of the moment.
Basil Smash — Two men, one idea
Mixology magazine documented the origin of the cocktail in Ulm. In the trendy bar “Blaupause”, one of the co-owners is said to have invented the drink in 2008. Based on the Whiskey Smash, he replaced the mint with basil and the whiskey with gin. The new drink was well received and spread regionally.
In the same year, a very similar drink was created in the Hamburg bar “Le Lion”. Its owner, Jörg Meyer, published his recipe on a relevant blog at the beginning of July 2008 and called the cocktail “Gin Basil Smash — Gin Pesto”.
Smashes were popular mixed drinks in the mid-19th century. They were created by combining any spirit with sugar and mint. The recipes were forgotten for a long time until they were revived by the famous bartender Dale DeGroff. Since then, new Smashes like this one with a subtle basil note and green color have been created again and again.
The word smash in this case means “to crush”. Mint, lemons, basil, or other ingredients are traditionally crushed or ground with a pestle to create a particularly delicate flavor.
Gin Basil Smash
- 5 cl gin
- 2 cl lemon juice best when fresh
- 8 basil leaves
- 2 cl sugar syrup
- some ice cubes
- Add the basil and sugar syrup to the shaker and mudlle (crush) both ingredients with the muddler.
- Fill a tumbler with ice.
- Now add lemon juice and gin to the glass.
- Run the basil-sugar syrup mixture through a fine strainer directly into the tumbler.
- Finally, add a small sprig of basil to decorate the rim of the glass.
- This pale green cocktail is served with a matching straw.
Tips for the perfect Basil Smash
Always use fresh lemon and not packaged juice. Squeezed from half a lemon, the juice gives the drink a particularly fruity, sweet, and sour aroma, while the packaged lemon juice is usually quite sour.
You can get creative with the amount of basil. If you and your guests like the flavor, it can be a handful per cocktail.
The inventor of the cocktail, Jörg Meyer, recommended leaving the stems on the basil and not muddling it too much. If the leaves are crushed too much, the cocktail becomes too green and tastes slightly grassy.
Frequently asked questions about Basil Smash
Which gin is the best for the Basil Smash?
Jörg Meyer recommended a gin that has more citrus than juniper flavors and used the brand “G’ Vine Nouaison” in the original recipe. Since this gin is quite expensive and not available at every grocery store, another brand will work just fine for a casual get-together.
Are there any variations of the Basil Smash cocktail?
Yes, this cocktail can be perfectly complemented by fresh fruits like strawberries or raspberries.
Can I mix this cocktail with another spirit?
Sure, you can try vodka or rum. These spirits also go well with the flavor of basil and lemon. You will notice that each version will let completely different flavors come through, but they both taste very delicious.