I bought a bottle of St. Germain elderflower liqueur because Julianne loves pink champagne and elderflower liqueur goes really well with it. So now I’ve got this rather large bottle of liqueur and I needed to find other drinks to make with it. I stumbled across the recipe for the Basil-ica Cocktail and since I had most of the ingredients I decided to make it. I substituted vodka for gin and toped mine with sparkling mineral water. It was awesome. When you look at what goes into this drink you would never guess that it turns out to taste like grapefruit soda. Happy accident I guess.
This drink calls for some stuff that you won’t likely have around but I’ll share some links to help you use some of the ingredients in other drinks. The first thing you’re not likely to have is St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur. It’s made with elderflower blossoms picked in the French alps. The blossoms are collected high in the mountains and transported to the distillery by cyclists to maintain the peak of freshness. I’m a cyclist and a sucker so that appeals to me. The drink itself has a sweet floral aroma. It adds balance to drinks with a strong acid content. I managed to find it in my local liquor store here in Saskatchewan so I bet it can be found easily in other locations. Here’s a page with a whole bunch of cocktails that use this liqueur.
The other thing this drink requires is cocktail bitters. What are cocktail bitters you ask? Think of them as cocktail spice. They’re made with herbs and spices and are usually soaked in high proof alcohol. The most common bitters are Angostura Bitters. You can usually find those bitters in your local supermarket. The bitters that are used in this drink are a little harder to find. This drink calls for Peychaud’s Aromatic Cockail Bitters and Reagans’ Orange Bitters No 6. Peychaud’s has an anise flavour and is the bitters you use when you make the Sazerac Cocktail. As the name suggests Regans’ tastes like orange citrus. I add it to Sazerac cocktails and Old Fashioned cocktails. Both of these bitters can be found (in Canada) at the Crafty Bartender in a three pack (with Boker’s bitters too).
Makes 1 cocktail
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
3 – 4 leaves of fresh basil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp simple syrup or agave nectar
3 dashes of Peychaud’s Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
2 dashes of Reagans’ Orange No 6 Bitters
crushed ice / ice cubes
sparkling mineral water
slice of lemon peel for garnish
In a cocktail shaker combine simple syrup, bitters and basil. Muddle to release the flavours of the basil leaves. Add vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice and some ice. Shake vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds. Strain into chilled old-fashioned glasses with extra ice cubes. Top with mineral water and give the lemon peal a squeeze over the drink to finish.