Photography by Chelsea Larsson
When I think of summer, strawberries and basil come to mind. With their alluring fragrances and refreshing flavors, they both play key roles in summer salads, desserts, and of course, cocktails. In honor of the Summer Solstice, I created a new cocktail to help keep you cool in the sweltering heat.
A Midsummer's Delight is based on a gin smash recipe. The exact origins of the smash cocktail remain shrouded in mystery, but the good folks at Imbibe Magazine have an excellent definition:
Though there are often more variables these days—sometimes the ice is crushed, sometimes shaved, sometimes the fruit is added to the drink, sometimes it’s just a garnish—the basic elements remain consistent: a spirit base, ice, sometimes a splash of water, mint (or other herb), sugar, and the ever-present seasonal fruit.
With strawberries and basil accounting for the seasonal fruit and herb and simple syrup representing both sugar and water, the last thing needed for this cocktail is a base spirit.
Gin makes a good choice because its botanical, herbal flavor is the perfect refresher on hot days. While any gin would probably work for this recipe, I used Right Gin, which hails from Sweden and has a subtle, sweet taste that compliments the other ingredients without overpowering them.
To further keep things balanced, add lemon juice, which is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the gin, strawberries, and simple syrup.
A garnish of lemon verbena finishes the drink. Not only is it beautiful, but the shrub's sweet, aromatic fragrance compliments the lemon in the cocktail.
To craft A Midsummer's Delight, add all the ingredients except the gin to a shaker and muddle. Add the gin and ice, shake, and strain into an Old Fashioned glass with ice.
Here's to the first days of summer!
A MIDSUMMER'S Delight
- 2 OZ gin
- 1 OZ lemon juice
- 1/2 OZ simple syrup
- 8 basil leaves
- 4 whole strawberries
- Lemon verbena garnish
- Glass: Old Fashioned
- Add strawberries and basil leaves to shaker, followed by lemon juice and simple syrup
- Muddle ingredients in shaker
- Add gin and ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds
- Double strain into Old Fashioned glass with ice
- Garnish with lemon verbena