Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Strawberry-Basil-Bourbon Spritzer with Basil Simple Syrup & Macerated Strawberries

Strawberry-Basil-Bourbon Spritzer with Basil Simple Syrup & Macerated Strawberries
We have the cutest little herb garden outside our front door. I mean it's truly a-bloomin' out there. It always makes me so happy to open the door to a bunch of potted plants. I've actually gotten a lot of compliments for it, I guess because there's not much room to have a herb garden in the Downtown Historic District of Savannah. There are a few thieves from a couple doors down that occasionally steal some for themselves... sneaky neighbors. But that's okay, we're producing so much that I can't use it all up before it goes bad. So, that has forced me to make a bunch of recipes using fresh herbs or pesto. So so  so much pesto. The only herb that we're really missing is Mint, which is a major bummer because we love making Mint Juleps & Mojitos during the Summer. This made me think about what other specialty cocktails I could make to use up a bunch of our pretty greens. Well, I eventually decided on making a Basil drink, simply because we just have so much more of it compared to our other herbs. I used my Mint Julep recipe as a base to make a simple syrup, this time however, I would infuse it with a bunch of fresh Basil. My Mountain Man was hesitant at first, of course, I mean what guy likes herby drinks? Not many. But I assured him it would be good and he obliged. I figured I would pair it with a Summer fruit, and what's better than fresh strawberries? I love 'em. And that actually pair quite nicely with Basil. So, we picked up a big ole' bunch of beautiful ruby red strawberries from the farmer's market and headed home. I couldn't quite to decide what to do with them though... Should I puree them? Keep 'em fresh & simple? Maybe muddle them at the bottom of the glass? Turn them into a flavored simple syrup as well? Nope, that wasn't going to work. I sat there and tinkered with a few things before landing on the idea of macerating the berries. Well, my friends, it was the perfect choice. I cubed the strawberries up and tossed them in a bowl with some sugar, balsamic vinegar, and ginger ale. And don't you worry your little hearts though, you can't taste the vinegar. It just boosts the natural flavors. I let them macerate on the counter until there was a thick syrup drowning those fresh strawberries. I also liked that the berries became soft and concentrated, but yet slightly bubbly from the infusion with the ginger ale. All we did was muddle some more fresh Basil with ice and mixed it with bourbon, simple syrup, and macerated berries. We topped our drinks off with a splash of ginger ale just for that little somethin' extra special, and it had become an instant Summer classic. Who knew you could make a cocktail with fresh basil, strawberries, and bourbon? Not me. But we loved them. They are really similar to a Mint Julep, so don't turn your nose up at them quite yet, give 'em a good try first. I guarantee you'll be utterly surprised!! Enjoy :)
Here's a picture of our little herb garden outside our front door :)
For the Basil Simple Syrup:
2C Sugar
2C Water
1 Lime, Zested & Juiced
1 ½C Fresh Basil Leaves

For the Macerated Strawberries:
1lb Strawberries, Cut into Pieces
¼C Sugar
2T Balsamic Vinegar
2T Ginger Ale

For the Strawberry-Basil-Bourbon Spritzer:
6-8 Fresh Basil Leaves (plus a few for garnish
1oz Prepared Basil Simple Syrup
3oz High Quality Bourbon
Syrupy Macerated Strawberries (the more strawberries you add, the sweeter the drink)
Ginger Ale or Soda
Crushed Ice

1. For the Basil Simple Syrup: Heat the sugar, water, and lime zest in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and add in the fresh basil leaves and let the mint steep for 10 minutes. Next, pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a bottle. Discard the solids. Let the syrup cool completely at room temperature. Stir in the fresh limejuice. Refrigerate the syrup until chilled. Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
2. For the Macerated Strawberries: Place the strawberry pieces into a large bowl and add in the sugar, balsamic, and ginger ale. Stir until they are completely coated. Let this mixture sit for a few hours at room temperature until they are syrup and soft. Refrigerate until chilled.
3. For the Strawberry-Basil-Bourbon Spritzer: Lightly muddle the basil leaves with the prepared simple syrup in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add in the bourbon and shake to combine. Spoon some of the macerated strawberries mixture into the bottom of a tall, clear glass, and then fill it with crushed ice. Pour the liquid over the strawberries & ice. Stir until the strawberries are mixed throughout and a frost forms on the outside of the cup. Top with Ginger Ale or soda, garnish with fresh basil and fresh strawberries, and then serve with a straw.


  1. We just tried this one tonight, only using fresh peaches which are what our side of the rockies are famous for. Let me say what a winner! Thanks for the inspiration once again.

    1. I bet these would be delish with peaches! And I share the same sentiment, Georgia is famous for our peaches, so I have a tendency of putting them in every dessert and/or cocktail. I especially loved them mixed into our mint julep recipe that I featured in April. I'm so glad that someone enjoys weird cocktails like I do. They really are super unique :) Thanks for commenting!