Basil-Vodka Gimlet

By • July 14, 2011 • 28 Comments

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Author Notes: I am for the most part a wine and beer guy, but every now and again I reach for something a bit stiffer. In the cold months that would be a bourbon, and in the summer, this drink. I first had a basil gimlet (with gin) at a restaurant years ago, and even though I'm not a gin drinker, fell in love with the thing and vowed to come up with a vodka version ASAP. This concoction is the result of that effort launched so many years ago, and is a perfect poolside sip. - Oui, ChefOui, Chef

Food52 Review: WHO: Oui, Chef is a father of five, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, and a food blogger.
WHAT: A pitch-perfect blend of basil, lime, and vodka.
HOW: The basil, lime zest, lime juice, and simple syrup all get muddled together, hang out for five minutes, and then get shaken with vodka and ice.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Oui, Chef gets all the ratios just right -- the cocktail has the perfect touch of sweetness, tang, and zip. Drink it while the weather's still warm -- and then in the heart of winter, when you're begging for sunshine.

Serves 2

  • 6 large, fresh basil leaves, torn into strips
  • Finely grated zest of 1/2 a lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 1/2 ounces vodka
  1. Put the basil strips, lime zest, lime juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Crush the leaves and the juices with a muddler and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the liquid to infuse with the basil flavor.
  2. Add the vodka, then fill the shaker 2/3 full with ice. Cover and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain the elixir into 2 chilled martini glasses, top each with a small sprig of basil and enjoy!
  3. Rinse and repeat!
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Comments (28) Questions (1)


about 1 month ago roryrabbitfield

Could this be made in a big batch and served in a punch bowl?


about 1 month ago Oui, Chef

I don't see why not, though the basil might get a little funky (off color) if it needs to sit out too long. I would just recommend adding ice to the glasses when served as opposed to adding to the punch bowl where it would melt and dilute the drink. Have a great party!


about 1 year ago Linda D. Belton

I keep several simple-syrups on hand for my vodka and gin drinks: mint, basil, and rosemary.


about 1 year ago Oui, Chef sound like my kind of gal!


about 1 year ago Judi

What's the difference using gin? Thanks


about 2 years ago Mickey Kelly

Use Hanger One basil-infused vodka and add a dash of Domaine de Canton for an Emperor and I.


about 2 years ago fayeballs

Ive never seen that vodka before, sounds good.


about 2 years ago Keith Whelan

This is a great recipe, but it only makes ONE serving. Not two.


about 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks....guess I need to get me some larger martini glasses ;-)


about 1 year ago TSmith

Agreed! The only problem with this was our glasses were empty too quickly.


over 2 years ago EatArt

Yummy! Only suggestion is to reduce sugar syrup by 1/2 so it's more tart. Salut!


about 2 years ago fayeballs

good call!


over 2 years ago fxjude

We normally drink wine, wine and more wine, but this sounded so tantalizing I had to try it. I used some mint simple syrup left over from making melon sorbet, but otherwise made it as written....though admittedly I did double the volume. Since when is a 3oz drink enough for two on a hot Sunday afternoon? Especially one as superb as this!


over 2 years ago Foodiewithalife

Sounds lovely. It's only 9:30am, is it too early to break out the martini shaker?


over 2 years ago Euro Kat

I love, love, love this. My husband is a vodka drinker, I prefer gin. My question is if this translates well to gin using the same ingredients and proportions, or do I need to futz with the recipe?


over 2 years ago Panfusine

Made this yesterday with a bit of fresh ginger thrown in. it was awesome!


over 2 years ago gingerroot

Congrats on the wildcard win, Oui, Chef! I know what I'll be enjoying this weekend...


over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks all for your kind words....only wish I had a pool to sip one by. Cheers - S


over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Congrats on the wildcard Steve! This looks so refreshing!


over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks fiveandspice....yeah, refreshing in a dangerous kind of way.


over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

Congratulations Steve......I have basil in my garden, vodka on the counter......I just might be reaching for some. Gorgeous


over 2 years ago Oui, Chef know you want to Ozoz!


over 2 years ago Panfusine

Sounds Awesome, HAVE to try this!
have to make this before the basil plant outside withers!


over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

It's never too late for one last sip of summer.


over 2 years ago Lizthechef

Congrats on a beautiful summer cocktail!


over 3 years ago Helen's All Night Diner

Looking forward to trying this. Congratulations on the EP!


almost 4 years ago wssmom

I was mulling something like this, but your version is PERFECT!!!


almost 4 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks wssmom! I could actually go for one of these now...if only I had a pool. - S