Gin and tonic alone is an unbeatable good combination. If you still wish to surprise yourself or your friends with a fresh variation of the classic, try out a G&T with fresh basil and lemon, aka the Gin Basil Smash. A shot of fruity Lillet Blanc turns this drink into a light summer aperitif. But if you do not have Lillet Blanc, sugar syrup can also be used as a substitute.
Zest from lemon and basil are shaken with gin and a good portion of ice and poured in a cold glass with mild tonic water. The essential oils of fruit and herb rise immediately in the nose and give your cocktail a fresh zing.
Lemon and Basil Gin Tonic
- Cocktail shaker
- Ice cubes
- Tumbler glass
- 50 ml Gin adjust according to your taste
- 25 ml Lillet Blanc
- 2 sprigs basil leaves
- 80 ml mild tonic water
- 1 strip lemon zest
- Chill the glasses. Fill them with ice and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
- Add 2 strips of lemon zest, 2 sprigs of basil, gin of your choice and Lillet in the shaker. And muddle lightly with a pestle.
- Fill the shaker to the edge with ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Sieve the mix into the iced glasses. Pour in tonic water.
- Twist lemon zest to release the essential oils and put in the glasses with the rest of the basil.
Gin Basil Smash Origins
The Gin Basil Smash Cocktail was invented by Jörg Meyer from Le Lion in Hamburg. It is a refreshing cocktail with fresh basil, which brings out the taste of each gin extremely well. Above all, when you combine it with gins with a slight pepper note such as the Whitley Neill Gin from England or the Bombay Sapphire East, the cocktail smells like heaven.
But other gins, such as the Tanqueray no. Ten, are also really impressive in the Gin Basil Smash.
Which gins go best with the Basil Smash?
Rutte Celery Gin
The Celery Gin has, as its name suggests, celery as its x-factor botanical. This brings powerful and spicy aromas into the glass that go very well with the basil. The Rutte company comes from the Netherlands and produces the gin in handmade batches. Incidentally, the Dry Gin from Rutte was also used at Le Lion in Hamburg to prepare the Basil Smash.
Bombay Sapphire (47% Vol.)
The Bombay Sapphire Gin and the Gin Basil Smash go very well together. The light pepper notes and the dominant coriander in the gin complement the freshness of the cocktail and the basil used. This is a cocktail that you should definitely try with the Bombay Sapphire.
Whitley Neill London Dry Gin
The Whitley Neill London Dry Gin with its slightly spicy, earthy aroma packs it with the fruit of the baobab tree (tree of life, see logo) and physalis (cap gooseberry) to create its own taste profile. It is precisely these two botanicals that give the Gin Basil Smash a certain something in the finish that knows how to convince. The mixture of basil, cape gooseberries and the tree of life is really worth it!
Bombay Sapphire East
The dominant pepper notes in Bombay Sapphire East complement the taste profile of the Gin Basil Smash remarkably well. It is certainly difficult to find many more cocktails where this gin works so well with the cocktail without it being too dominant.
Tanqueray No. Ten
The Basil Smash is probably one of the prime cocktails with the Tanqueray No. Ten. The freshness of the cocktail goes perfectly with this gin. Especially in the finish, the premium version from Tanqueray can very well enforce its own taste profile and creates a very harmonious overall impression.
Gins that DO NOT go well with the Basil Smash
Monkey 47 Beef! -Cut
A limited gin that is too good to mix with only 999 bottles. But after the positive experiences with gins with a light pepper note, the Basil Smash with this gin also had to be tried. The drink is overall very harmonious but has nothing special. The additional pepper notes do not come into play. The special Monkey 47 aroma is unfortunately also lost in this drink. Therefore avoid this cocktail with Monkey 47.
Ungava Canadian Premium Gin
The botanicals all come from one of the northernmost regions of Canada, which sounds promising in Basil Smash. The clear, yellow color of the distillate is particularly striking. Don’t worry in the Gin Smash: the colors don’t bite and you can serve it without scaring the connoisseur with the color. The taste in the Gin Basil Smash is harmonious but without any real highlights.
Gordon’s London Dry Gin
The actual taste of the cocktail is in the foreground in combination with the Gordon’s London Dry Gin. However, the special note is missing. But the price-performance ratio is of course also remarkable without harming the cocktail.
In this combination with fresh basil, the juniper notes from Tanqueray gin also remain clearly in the background. As a result, the composition lacks the complexity that can be achieved very well with other gins.
The luxury version of the Beefeater gin comes with very dominant citrus flavors in its finish. These do not really fit in the Gin Basil Smash and steers the cocktail in the wrong direction.
The Gin Basil Smash is extremely popular. Similar flavors can also be found in the following cocktails. The following drinks support the spicy aroma, the interplay of spices and gin and bring variety to the home cocktail makers.
Raspberry Thyme Smash
Fresh raspberries and thyme make a solid combo. Combine them with a gin and what you get is a delicious and refreshing cocktail. >> View recipe
Basil Gin Fizz
The name already suggests that this is another gin cocktail with basil. The ingredients are similar, but the fizz gets a portion of refreshment thanks to the very carbonated soda water.
Gin Gin Mule
Spicy flavors also play a special role in the Gin Gin Mule. The ingenious interplay of ginger berries and fresh mint delight the palate with this cocktail by Audrey Saunders from New York. >> View recipe
The Gin Fizz is the perfect cocktail for the summer. Your own favorite gin is particularly evident in this cocktail and often elegantly combines its flavors with fresh lemon juice. Go to the recipe to read more about which gins go well in this cocktail. >> View recipe