This fruity, herbal gin cocktail combines the flavors of ripe raspberries and fragrant basil blossoms for a summery twist on the popular Gin Basil Smash cocktail.
As we move into July, we’re reaching peak raspberry season here in the northeast. Berries are ripe and abundant, and all the herbs are overflowing in my garden. If you grow your own herbs, you know how wonderful it is to head outside and snip a few tops whenever you want the fresh flavors in your cocktails or cuisine.
But even if you don’t have your own basil plants, you can easily make this cocktail by purchasing some basil blossoms online. I like to buy from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals, and that’s where these gorgeous purple blooms (and the purple viola garnish) came from.
Basil blossoms vs. basil leaves
Herb blossoms smell and taste very much like the leaves of the herb, but are sometimes a little bit more or less intense. I used one long stem’s worth of basil blossoms in this cocktail, but you can use a few if your stems are short. You can also substitute with basil leaves if they’re all you have. Use about 8 leaves.
Want something fresh and basil-y, but without the booze? Try my Basil Lime Smash Mocktail.
What’s in the Raspberry Basil Blossom Gin Smash
This simple, fresh cocktail is made with:
- Basil blossoms
- Simple syrup
Some items you’ll need to make it:
- Muddler to extract the juice from the lemon wedges and the oils from the basil blossoms
- Cocktail shaker to fully incorporate the ingredients and chill the cocktail. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can use a jar with a screw-top lid, like a mason jar!
- Fine mesh strainer to keep small bits of lemon and basil flowers out of your glass
- Crushed ice for serving the cocktail. You can use cubed ice if you want, but I prefer the extra chill and dilution crushed ice gives this cocktail. You can crush ice by placing cubes in a zip top bag, wrapping it in a dish towel, and using a mallet to pound the ice into smaller pieces.
How to make the cocktail
- In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle one stem of basil blossoms with five ripe raspberries and ½ a lemon, cut into wedges.
- Add the gin and simple syrup to the shaker and fill it ¾ with ice. Shake until the cocktail is chilled, then fine strain it into a small wine glass or rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
- Garnish with fresh raspberries and more basil blossoms. I also garnished with edible purple viola flowers, which add beauty and a mild flavor.
The classic Gin Basil Smash
The original Gin Basil Smash was invented in 2008 by bartender Jörg Meyer in Germany and was first known as Gin Pesto. Very quickly, the drink took off in popularity and spread all over the world. At some point, it became better known as a Gin Basil Smash, which describes both the drink’s flavors and the method by which the drink is made.
A smash is a type of cocktail that involves muddled herbs and citrus. The best known smash is the Whiskey Smash. You can learn all about smashes and their history over at Imbibe.
The classic Gin Basil Smash is made with: 2 ounces of gin, 12 fresh basil leaves, ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice, and ¾ ounce simple syrup.
Vigorously muddle the basil leaves with the lemon juice to break down the leaves and give the drink a bright green hue. Then add the gin and simple syrup and shake with ice until well chilled.
Fine strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with a sprig of basil.
What gin to use
When it comes to choosing a gin, I like to use either a classic London dry, or a modern gin with a pronounced herbal flavor profile. An interesting bottle to try in this cocktail is Gin Mare, a mediterranean gin made with olives, basil, rosemary and thyme.
Learn how to make a gorgeous raspberry and basil garnish for this cocktail in my 5 Simple (but Beautiful) Cocktail Garnishes.
You might also enjoy these other popular summer gin cocktail recipes:
- Strawberry Basil Gin Sour
- Mandarin Ginger Gin Sour
- Strawberry Watermelon Gin Cooler
- Cherry Violet Coconut Gin Cooler
Raspberry Basil Blossom Gin Smash
- 2 oz gin
- ¾ oz simple syrup
- ½ lemon, cut into wedges
- 5 raspberries
- 1 basil blossom stem (about 4" long) (or 8 basil leaves)
- In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the raspberries, lemon wedges, and basil blossoms.
- Add the gin and simple syrup to the shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, about 12 seconds, then strain the cocktail into a rocks glass or small wine glass filled with crushed ice.
- Garnish with raspberries and basil blossoms.