Thursday, March 10, 2011

Citrus-Basil Cooler

I'm going out for dinner tomorrow night at King and I (which many consider to be the best Thai food in St. Louis), which got me thinking about the Thai basil I grew last summer. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to play with it before it all burnt up in the August heat. I started thinking about cocktails in which I could use Thai basil, or just plain basil. I've been obsessed with Cara Cara oranges lately, so I thought the two could join forces. (If you haven't tried a cara cara orange yet, you must! They have the perfect balance of sweet and tart. And they have an awesome name!)

I assembled my ingredients:
  • fresh basil leaves
  • juice of 1/2 a cara cara orange
  • vodka
  • sweetened lime juice (which I didn't use during the first run but decided on because the drink was definitely lacking without it)

I bruised the basil leaves with a muddler, then muddled them with the orange juice. I added about a jigger of vodka, 1/2 jigger of sweetened lime juice and shook with ice. Strained into a martini glass and that was that!

This Citrus-Basil Cooler is tart, citrusy and refreshing. I could drink this all year, although it would be perfect for summer. When you take a sip, the aroma of the basil hits your nose. A subtle basil flavor lingers after the citrus is gone. I didn't use exact measurements when I put this together, so you could tweak it to your liking. You could limit the tartness if you want, you could use citron vodka or unflavored, you could throw in more basil, etc.

In terms of mixology, I have so much yet to learn. However, I really enjoy a good cocktail and I know what flavors complement each other, so that's my springboard. Time to go make myself another!

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