Strawberry Basil Blush Cocktail

The Strawberry Basil Blush cocktail brings together the wonderful flavors and aromas of basil and strawberries. It is a very fruit forward cocktail that is perfect when fresh ripe strawberries are in season. Try making it with either vodka or gin and see which you prefer. For a tall and refreshing play on this cocktail serve it over ice.


1 fresh basil leaf 1 - 2 fresh strawberries 1 1/2 oz gin 1 1/2 oz Lillet Rose (or substitute a rosé wine) Garnish: Basil leaf


Tear and drop basil leaf into a mixing glass.

Drop in strawberries and lightly muddle to release the juices.

Measure in the gin and Lillet. Fill mixing glass with ice. Cap and shake vigorously.

Strain into a martini glass (Double strain if desired.) Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.


Daniël Altena Blom 19 Jul 2013
4:54 am

Looks wonderful. Simplicity often is key to great recipes and présence, which is once again proven as well by Kathy, great job! Can´t wait to try this one myself with raspberries as substitute of the strawberries tho. I was just wondering, is there any specific reason for pouring the drink from the tin back into the glass after shaking? Keep up the delicious work guys!

Kathy Casey 19 Jul 2013
12:51 pm

Thank you for your comment, Daniël! I like to pour the drinks back into the glass as a visual. It’s a habit for me in bars so that the guest can see the beautiful ingredients in the cocktail when you are straining.

Daniël Altena Blom 20 Jul 2013
1:29 am

That´s a wonderful idea Kathy, to connect and involve the guest even more with the drink, the process and yourself as bartender. Personal attention is always highly appreciated :) Gotta give it a try in the bar this afternoon.

Nick L. 24 Jul 2013
3:29 pm

I’ve asked several people this question and have yet to receive an answer, so I hope you don’t mind me passing the torch to you, Kathy…

I think we can all agree that we’re better off without having folks bash the life out of their herbs with a muddler—instead people have adopted a gentler approach, releasing flavors and aromas instead of bitter chlorophyll.  BUT, what’s the point of “spanking” your leafy friends if you’re just going to shake them with ice and pulverize them anyway.  Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

Granted, I think this is a bigger issue with mint as it’s more delicate than basil, but I can’t help but notice that whole leaves go into your mixing tin and there’s none to be found when you strain the drink…because they’re obliterated by ice during the shaking process.

I invite anyone else to chime in as well.

Kathy Casey 25 Jul 2013
4:17 pm

Hi Nick - Thank you for your comment. I have a couple of thoughts on herbs in cocktails. I don’t usually spank my herbs, but think it is fun for a bit of visual :-)  (similar to what I had mentioned to Daniël in a previous comment) and it does help to release the oils a bit.

I often tear my herbs and don’t muddle them unless I am muddling fruit with them. If you do tear them you, then you’ll want to give the drink an extra big shake to get their essence released into the cocktail. The basil that I was using for this episode ended up being super mild; so a harder shake was needed.

Numerous factors come into play (including different times of the year and different strains of herbs) that can change up the flavor and potency of any herb. I always have a little taste before using.

For example, something like fresh rosemary bought at the store can be mild, but from your garden, it might be super strong. All these factors I take into consideration when making a cocktail and how I need to incorporate them into the drink.

I am never a fan of super muddling herbs like mint, so much as that it changes the appearance of the cocktail and then the drink is full of pulverized pieces.

Herbs, like fresh sage, can be super strong and will need a light tear and shake. Then sometimes the variety of sage can overall be mild; it’s all up to nature.

I don’t think any of these ways to incorporate herbs into a cocktail are bad at all. The only really incorrect method is muddling herbs with ice, which is a no-no as we all know.

And last but not least I always like to put a tiny sprig of the herb on the cocktail so you get a lovely whiff of it before sipping - thus enhancing the drink and adding on to the experience.

Robert Hess 25 Jul 2013
5:02 pm

Nick, one important thing to remember here is that not all herbs are created equal. The main thing they have in common is that they are all plants, and so they all have chlorophyll, which as you mention can add a bitterness to the drink. This will come out more as you muddle more.

Mint carries it’s flavor oils in small little sacks on the surface of the leaves, which is why the “spank” to release those oils without any chlorophyll. But frankly spanking is most useful for mint which is added as a garnish, as opposed to adding before muddling/shaking.

If you are going to muddle your mint, you need to do so lightly, or essentially “tamping” instead of “muddling”.

Personally I prefer the control I have by tamping/muddling the mint before shaking. That said, you don’t want to shake it so much/hard as to start bringing out the chlorophyll.

For other herbs, the key thing is in understanding how the flavor oils are best brought out. When in doubt, try experimentations to see what methods you think work best.


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