Gin and Cucumber Basil Smash – A light and fragrant cocktail you’ll want to drink all through summer!
A really quick one today. It’s world gin day!
I usually ignore most of the food/drink holidays (there are so many of them!!). I mean, bacon day, Nutella day, coffee day – they’re important for obvious reasons – but National Oatmeal-Nut Waffle day and National strawberry rhubarb pie day? Come on – they’re just a bit too specific.
I kind of think random people and companies are just declaring their own days.
If that’s allowed I’m going for:
National well-cooked Warbuton’s crumpet with salted butter and latte-made-with-Nespresso-Rosabaya-De-Columbia day.
How’s that for specific!
Incidentally, yes, that was my breakfast.
Anyway, despite the fact I only occasionally take part in these days, I realised that it’s Saturday, and therefore I will be having a gin and tonic later. My Saturday night gin usually consists of Hendricks with cucumber and naturally light Fever Tree tonic.
But since it’s gin day, I’m going all out with a gin-based drink that one of Chris’s friends – Will – recommended.
A simple sugar syrup (usually that’s enough to put me off, cocktails really shouldn’t include the need for a saucepan, but it only takes 5 mins really) muddled with basil leaves, cucumber and ice, then finished off with gin and a splash of tonic. I thoroughly tested this on a hot sunny afternoon a couple of weeks ago and it’s a winner.
It’s a fair amount of basil, but it doesn’t overpower the drink, it compliments it perfectly!
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar (for decorating the glass – optional)
- 8 basil leaves
- 8 slices cucumber (about 5mm thick)
- 2 tbsp sugar syrup (boil 2 parts cold water with 1 part granulated sugar, whilst stirring constantly for 3-4 mins – until the sugar dissolves – to make this)
- 50ml gin (Tanqueray or Hendricks is a good choice)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Crushed ice
- Splash of tonic water (my fave is naturally light Fever Tree)
- Strips of cucumber (use a vegetable peeler to make these)
- A few basil leaves to decorate
- Make a sugar rim on the glass by dipping the rim of the glass in a sauce of water. Spread the sugar on another saucer and dip the rim of the glass in the sugar.
- Place the basil leaves and cucumber in a cocktail shaker and muddle (or gently bash) with a muddler or wooden spoon until the basil and cucumber are bruised and the scent is released. Add the sugar syrup, gin, lemon juice and ice. Shake vigorously until frost forms on the outside of the cocktail shaker.
- Fill your glass with ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Top up with tonic water. Decorate with strips of cucumber and basil leaves.