TGIF: Basil lime cocktail

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Yes, I still have a lot of basil.  After making so much pesto, and Caprese Salad with it, it’s time for a cocktail.  I figured the freshness of basil would be great with the freshness of the limes we love so much.

This cocktail is made with simple syrup, which is commonly used to sweeten cocktails.  Just adding sugar in your cocktail can be a bit grainy but making a simple syrup solves this problem. To make a simple syrup all you do is boil equal amounts of sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves.  Then stick it in the refrigerator to cool. That’s all there is to it. It is very easy to do and so worth it. In the recipe I use a quarter cup of water and a quarter cup of sugar. That will actually make a dozen cocktails.  Although there is a little simple syrup in this drink, it is not real sweet.

Another thing to make sure you have for this is a muddler.  There are a lot of popular drinks which involve muddling fruit and/or herbs together and a muddler works really well to do this.  This process simply involves pressing the fruit and herbs in your glass or cocktail sugar until the pulp releases the juice and the herbs release their oils. There are many kinds of muddlers, but I recommend a stainless steel one that you can stick in the dishwasher and won’t break. This is the one I show from OXO in the photo.  I don’t recommend muddling in the cocktail glass that you are going be using – you can break the glass.  Unless you have a sturdy pint type of glass, use a cocktail shaker.  You don’t have to worry about breaking a glass and it will make a superior cocktail.

Basil Lime Cocktail

for a printable recipe, click here


you will need a muddler and a cocktail shaker for this recipe
make the simple syrup at least a half hour before you plan to serve the drinks so that it is cold

serves 2


for the simple syrup:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

for the cocktails:

  • 10 small to medium basil leaves (don’t use large, old ones)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of club soda



Make the simple syrup:  Boil the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.  Place in a small container and refrigerate until cold.

Make the cocktail: 

Have two cocktail glasses ready with ice cubes in them.

Slice the lime in half.  Cut one half into quarters.  Use the other half to make slices for the finished cocktail.

In a cocktail shaker, add the lime quarters and the basil.  Using the muddler, press the limes and basil until the limes give up their juice.  Use a slight rotating motion as you press.  You don’t want to overdo it – just press until the juice is released.

Add 1 cup of ice cubes to the shaker.  Add the tequila, Cointreau, simple syrup and club soda.  Place the top on the shaker and shake gently for a few seconds.  Pour into the glasses and garnish with lime slices.

All photos by The Italian Dish

About The Italian Dish 29 Articles
My name is Elaine and I live in neighboring Okemos. My mother, Angela, was from Italy and I guess I just have that Italian gene in me — I love to feed people. I began this blog to teach people how to cook. It pains me that so many people do not cook for themselves and instead order carryout five nights a week. Cooking from scratch is much easier than most people think. It's healthier and cheaper. Cook along with me — I'll show you how. I love photography and, in a previous life, was a painter. My food photography enables me to really show you how to create things, step by step. I love the beauty of food and the creativity of the kitchen. Developing my own recipes is just another way to fill a canvas. I hope you enjoy what I love so much — cooking for people and the joy of the table.