Summer hasn’t given up yet, but you can feel things beginning to change. A little crispness to the air at sunrise. A few leaves drying out and floating on the breeze as another summer storm blows in. I’m trying to make sure I don’t miss things this year. You’ll see what I mean if you will join me as we stand and make the Gin Basil Smash. 

This is a summer drink, no question about that. It’s a shame I have waited this long to make it. Walking through the side yard this morning I noticed that the late season basil is beginning to wilt a bit, some dried leaves around the base. So I picked some good looking clumps to make some pesto and maybe an afternoon refreshment. We picked up some Lemon Chili Peppers at the farmers market yesterday, so I decided to incorporate them as well, to give our drink a little extra kick, we will see how that works out. 

Just for drill, give your basil a good wash in cold water and shake it out. Grab your tins and pop in 12 leaves, yeah, that’s a lot. What of it? Grab your muddler and get to work releasing all those good essential oils. Then pop in 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/3 of an ounce of simple syrup, and 2 ounces of gin, I opted for Corsair. This next step is optional, but I wanted to throw some heat into the mix, so add about a 1/2 inch slice of one of those lemon chili peppers. They are seriously hot, so use caution. Add ice and give it a good shake to the gentle strains of David Bowie’s “Heroes”. Not sure that it’s relevant to this drink, but Liam and I were rocking it this morning with the sunroof open and the windows down and it’s been in my head and it’s awesome, so make it work. When your tins are cold, double strain to catch any wayward basil, over ice into a rocks glass. And garnish with a freshly slapped bunch of basil and one of those beautiful lemon chiles. 

Wow, what a bouquet. Pesto in a glass, with a kick. That floral basil is amazing in this one and even that small amount of pepper brings the heat. The great thing though, is they don’t overpower the gin, in fact it is almost like they open it further. This drink works. It works without the pepper too, but I love that afterburn on a cool, refreshing drink. 

A wonderful drink inspired by the farmers market and a walk in the garden. I guess we could have done worse. It doesn’t always have to be deep and meaningful, sometimes you can just do it because it feels good. This drink feels good and it is oh so pretty. Just the thing for a late summer Sunday afternoon. Simple, uncomplicated, I can live with that. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.