Gin Basil Smash | Cotswold Cocktail School
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Gin Basil Smash

Cotswold Cocktail School - Gin Basil Smash Cocktail Recipe

ABV 21.4% / 2.4 alcoholic units

Primary ingredient: Gin

A Brief History of a Gin Basil Smash

The Gin Basil Smash made its debut on the cocktail scene in the early 21st century, crafted by bartender Jörg Meyer at Le Lion Bar in Hamburg, Germany. Meyer's creation quickly gained popularity, spreading across the globe and becoming a staple in cocktail menus. Its simplicity, freshness, and the use of aromatic basil contributed to its widespread acclaim among cocktail enthusiasts.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Gin Basil Smash offers a delightful medley of flavors:

  • Botanical Burst: The gin takes centre stage, bringing with it the complex and aromatic notes of juniper, herbs, and spices.
  • Herbal Harmony: Fresh basil leaves impart a fragrant and slightly peppery quality, adding a layer of herbal sophistication.
  • Citrus Zing: Freshly squeezed lemon juice provides a bright and tangy kick, balancing the herbal and botanical elements.
  • Sweet Simplicity: Simple syrup or sugar adds just enough sweetness to round off the flavors, creating a well-balanced and refreshing cocktail.

The result is a harmonious symphony of botanicals, herbs, and citrus that invigorates the senses.

 Food Pairings

The Gin Basil Smash's herbal and citrusy notes make it a versatile companion to a range of dishes:

  • Herb-Infused Appetisers: Pair with herb-centric appetisers like bruschetta or goat cheese crostini to complement the cocktail's herbal profile.
  • Citrusy Seafood: Enjoy with fresh seafood dishes like ceviche or shrimp skewers to enhance the cocktail's citrus elements.
  • Light Salads: The cocktail's refreshing nature makes it an excellent match for salads featuring citrus vinaigrettes or herbaceous greens.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Muddler
  • Hawthorne strainer 
  • Fine sieve
  • Jigger
  • Rocks glass


  • 60ml London Dry Gin
  • 20ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 20ml  Simple syrup*
  • 10-12 Fresh basil leaves (and their stalks)
  • Ice
  • Garnish: Basil sprig


  • Add all ingredients into the cocktail shaker and muddle for 20 seconds or so
  • Add ice and shake until well chilled
  • Double strain into into a rocks glass with ice 
  • Garnish with a basil sprig

*Simple syrup - 1 part sugar to one part water. Gently heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved and allow to cool

What's the best Gin for a Gin Basil Smash Cocktail?

Selecting the best gin for a Gin Basil Smash cocktail depends on personal preferences, as different gins bring varying botanical profiles and flavour nuances. However, a gin with a well-balanced combination of botanicals, including juniper and herbaceous elements, tends to work exceptionally well in this cocktail. Here are some gins that are often recommended for crafting a delightful Gin Basil Smash:

  • Hendrick's Gin: Infused with rose and cucumber in addition to traditional botanicals, Hendrick's Gin offers a unique and refreshing profile that complements the basil and citrus notes in the cocktail.
  • Bombay Sapphire: Known for its balanced botanical blend, Bombay Sapphire has a classic juniper base with hints of citrus, making it a versatile choice for a Gin Basil Smash.
  • Tanqueray London Dry: This premium gin is juniper-forward gin with distinctive flavours of piney juniper and feint lemon zest. It is these perfectly balanced botanicals of juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice which create a classic base for every gin cocktail without overpowering it.
  • The Botanist: Hailing from Islay, The Botanist is crafted with 22 botanicals, including herbs and flowers indigenous to the Scottish island. Its herbal complexity enhances the overall herbal character of the Gin Basil Smash.

When choosing a gin, consider whether you prefer a classic London Dry style, a contemporary gin with additional botanicals, or a regional gin with unique flavor profiles. Ultimately, the best gin for your Gin Basil Smash is the one that resonates with your taste preferences and enhances the overall drinking experience. Experimenting with different gins allows you to tailor the cocktail to your liking.

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