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« My Favorite Way to Make a Layer Cake (and a Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting) | Main | Basil Pesto with Potatoes, Green Beans and Pasta »

Basil Lime Cocktail


Yes, I still have a lot of basil.  After making so much pesto, and Caprese Salad with it, it's time for a cocktail.  I figured the freshness of basil would be great with the freshness of the limes we love so much.  

This cocktail is made with simple syrup, which is commonly used to sweeten cocktails.  Just adding sugar in your cocktail can be a bit grainy but making a simple syrup solves this problem. To make a simple syrup all you do is boil equal amounts of sugar and water together until the sugar dissolves.  Then stick it in the refrigerator to cool. That's all there is to it. It is very easy to do and so worth it. In the recipe I use a quarter cup of water and a quarter cup of sugar. That will actually make a dozen cocktails.  Although there is a little simple syrup in this drink, it is not real sweet.

Another thing to make sure you have for this is a muddler.  There are a lot of popular drinks which involve muddling fruit and/or herbs together and a muddler works really well to do this.  This process simply involves pressing the fruit and herbs in your glass or cocktail sugar until the pulp releases the juice and the herbs release their oils. There are many kinds of muddlers, but I recommend a stainless steel one that you can stick in the dishwasher and won't break. This is the one I show from OXO in the photo.  I don't recommend muddling in the cocktail glass that you are going be using - you can break the glass.  Unless you have a sturdy pint type of glass, use a cocktail shaker.  You don't have to worry about breaking a glass and it will make a superior cocktail.

Basil Lime Cocktail

for a printable recipe, click here


you will need a muddler and a cocktail shaker for this recipe
make the simple syrup at least a half hour before you plan to serve the drinks so that it is cold 

serves 2


for the simple syrup:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar

for the cocktails:

  • 10 small to medium basil leaves (don't use large, old ones)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 4 ounces of club soda 



Make the simple syrup:  Boil the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves.  Place in a small container and refrigerate until cold.

Make the cocktail: 

Have two cocktail glasses ready with ice cubes in them.

Slice the lime in half.  Cut one half into quarters.  Use the other half to make slices for the finished cocktail.

In a cocktail shaker, add the lime quarters and the basil.  Using the muddler, press the limes and basil until the limes give up their juice.  Use a slight rotating motion as you press.  You don't want to overdo it - just press until the juice is released.  

Add 1 cup of ice cubes to the shaker.  Add the tequila, Cointreau, simple syrup and club soda.  Place the top on the shaker and shake gently for a few seconds.  Pour into the glasses and garnish with lime slices. 


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Reader Comments (20)

I keep a jar of simple syrup in the fridge at all times to sweeten tea. Some of us like it sweeter than others. You can make it quickly in the micro in a canning jar. Just micro until the sugar dissolves. Store it in the jar!

These cocktails look wonderful. And I have basil in the garden! Yum. Thanks for sharing.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Can you make the ingredients in advanced and serve them from a pitcher? Or do they separate over time? Want to serve it at a Sunday afternoon Italian BBQ but don't want to have to make 15 of them over the afternoon.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill

I've made a similar very refreshing cocktail all summer, eliminating the Cointreau, and substituing tonic water for the club soda. Delicious!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

This cocktail looks so refreshing and I too have a bunch of basil in the garden. What a great way to use it!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnne @ Have a Cookie!

I was just thinking about making this drink yesterday---thanks!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Thomas

Really, your pictures are beautiful. The way you photograph Basil and lime. I think you could photograph anything and have it turn out beautiful. Thanks for the blog. It always puts a smile on my face

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I have a liquor recipe book from Italy and one recipe is a basil liquor where you bring water (with tons of basil leaves) to a boil and let it sit 24 hours before filtering it and then adding grain alcohol and sugar.

I think it would be interesting, likewise, to do the same with the water intended for the simple syrup. You would boil the water with the basil leaves first and let it sit for 24 hours. Then you can filter the water and follow the steps for the simple syrup - because, if you did it all together, it could be problematic to remove the basil in syrup.

The water would carry that basil flavor and really enhance the cocktail even more.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristian

Beautiful photos, and a lovely drink recipe. I just posted my Grandmother's Mint Julep, as yes, the amount of herbs in the garden is over the top. I'll be bring this cocktail this week for sure. Thank you! Georgina @

Yummy! I want one of these :)

Try Q Tonic water in place of club soda. It will give the drink a slightly different edge, but some people may like it. Also agave nectar is a good sweetener when using tequila as the liquor.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwcwirla

Oh this sounds so so good, I'm making them for sure this weekend! My basil has done so well this Summer...last year not so much. Thanks for the great drink inspiration!

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

I wonder about shaking the cocktail with the club soda. Most similar recipes using carbonated soda add it after the other ingredients have been given a good hard shake (to chill and slightly dilute the hard alcohol) and poured over new ice. Soda tops off the cocktail. Shaking with the soda destroys much of the carbonation.

July 31, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlouisbart

From The Italian Dish:

Barbara: That's a great tip - thanks!

Will - I've never made a whole pitcher ahead of time, so I'm not sure. I do like to make the cocktails fresh, just making a couple in a cocktail shaker. If you make them ahead of time, don't add the ice so they don't get diluted.

Louisbart: The recipe says to gently shake the cocktail. We have never had a problem with the soda losing its carbonation.

August 1, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Delicious drink!

August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlina

Oh what a drink! I have a plethora of basil myself and this is the ticket. And mounds upon mounds of mint. Maybe hit it mojito style? Love this, pinned and thanks!

August 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterheidi @foodicrush

Something to look forward to at our next girls' night at my house!!! YUM!

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne

Wow, your photos are fantastic and this drink looks so..... refreshing, I'd never have thought to put basil in a beverage!

Holy cow that is a great idea. I always end up with leftover basil and this looks like a great way to use it up and have fun doing so!

August 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Wow! This looks amazing! Sometime I hope to post something like this on my blog:) Come check my blog out @:
Thank you, Maddie

August 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLive to Eat

I think it will be my second favorite drink after mohito.

September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPasta-recipes

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