Basil-Vodka Gimlet

July 14, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
In This Recipe


  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!

More Great Recipes:
Cocktail|Basil|Lime Juice|Vodka|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Fourth of July|Father's Day|Memorial Day|Mother's Day|Summer|Vegan|Vegetarian

Reviews (30) Questions (1)

30 Reviews

Ev R. September 2, 2015
what is a simple syrup<br />
Author Comment
Oui, C. September 2, 2015
Heat equal parts water and sugar over low heat in a saucepan until sugar is fully dissolved, then let cool before using. This simple syrup is great in cocktails, or to sweeten iced tea or coffee.
roryrabbitfield February 28, 2015
Could this be made in a big batch and served in a punch bowl?
Author Comment
Oui, C. March 1, 2015
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!
Linda D. March 4, 2014
I keep several simple-syrups on hand for my vodka and gin drinks: mint, basil, and rosemary.<br />
Author Comment
Oui, C. March 4, 2014 sound like my kind of gal!
Judi February 16, 2014
What's the difference using gin? Thanks
Mickey K. April 9, 2013
Use Hanger One basil-infused vodka and add a dash of Domaine de Canton for an Emperor and I.
fayeballs April 17, 2013
Ive never seen that vodka before, sounds good.
Keith W. March 22, 2013
This is a great recipe, but it only makes ONE serving. Not two.
Author Comment
Oui, C. March 22, 2013
Thanks....guess I need to get me some larger martini glasses ;-)
TSmith March 22, 2014
Agreed! The only problem with this was our glasses were empty too quickly.
EatArt October 15, 2012
Yummy! Only suggestion is to reduce sugar syrup by 1/2 so it's more tart. Salut!
fayeballs April 17, 2013
good call!
fxjude September 23, 2012
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!
Foodiewithalife September 23, 2012
Sounds lovely. It's only 9:30am, is it too early to break out the martini shaker?
Euro K. September 23, 2012
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?
Panfusine September 22, 2012
Made this yesterday with a bit of fresh ginger thrown in. it was awesome!
gingerroot September 21, 2012
Congrats on the wildcard win, Oui, Chef! I know what I'll be enjoying this weekend...
Author Comment
Oui, C. September 20, 2012
Thanks all for your kind words....only wish I had a pool to sip one by. Cheers - S
fiveandspice September 20, 2012
Congrats on the wildcard Steve! This looks so refreshing!
Author Comment
Oui, C. September 20, 2012
Thanks fiveandspice....yeah, refreshing in a dangerous kind of way.
Kitchen B. September 20, 2012
Congratulations Steve......I have basil in my garden, vodka on the counter......I just might be reaching for some. Gorgeous
Author Comment
Oui, C. September 20, 2012 know you want to Ozoz!
Panfusine September 19, 2012
Sounds Awesome, HAVE to try this! <br /> have to make this before the basil plant outside withers!
Author Comment
Oui, C. September 20, 2012
It's never too late for one last sip of summer.
Lizthechef September 19, 2012
Congrats on a beautiful summer cocktail!
Helen's A. July 28, 2011
Looking forward to trying this. Congratulations on the EP!
wssmom July 14, 2011
I was mulling something like this, but your version is PERFECT!!!
Author Comment
Oui, C. July 15, 2011
Thanks wssmom! I could actually go for one of these now...if only I had a pool. - S