The best drink I’ve drunk in recent memory was the basil lime daiquiri I drank at ABC Kitchen, Jean-George’s highly praised farm-to-table restaurant attached to ABC Carpet. The drink positively glowed with its fluorescent green color and intense basil-y aroma. Here, let me show you a picture….
It’s the drink on the left and, yes, it looks more yellow than green, but I remember it as green which speaks VOLUMES.
For Christmas this year, Craig’s parents bought him a cocktail shaker and after learning that there was a recipe for this basil lime daquiri on the G.Q. website, courtesy of Alan Richman (see here), I decided to make it myself.
The recipe felt to me kind of loosey-goosey, almost as if this isn’t really how they make the drink at ABC Kitchen (which, as you’ll see in a moment, may be true.)
The steps, though, were simple enough….
Take a bunch of basil leaves, plop them in water and heat, on a low temperature, until the water reduces significantly. That’s your basil water:
You strain that basil water (or just lift the basil out, either way) and combine it with an equal amount of brown sugar (I used muscavado sugar) and lime juice:
I ended up using 1/3rd a cup basil water, 1/3rd a cup of brown sugar and 1/3rd a cup of lime juice. I only had so many limes (plus you need more for the final mix):
You may have noticed that the brown sugar/basil water/lime juice mixture turned brown when I added the brown sugar and that made me nervous—I didn’t want a brown basil lime daiquiri!—but that ended up not being a problem.
Essentially, at this point, you pour the following into a cocktail shaker (I used a scale to make this easier, set on the “ounce” setting):
2 ounces Cruzan light rum (I used this kind of rum which worked fine….)
1 1/2 ounces basil lime syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Once you have that in your shaker, add a few ice cubes, cover it up and shake shake shake. You want to shake it hard so that the shaker feels cold, almost too cold to hold: that’s when you know you’re done.
Then strain and drink:
Only, it didn’t pack quite the same basil-y punch that the one at ABC Kitchen did. It tasted mostly of lime.
Well, naturally, I was Tweeting this whole process as I did it and a few days later I got a Tweet from @ABCKmichael, the manager at ABCKitchen:
I’m intrigued by the part where he says: “We make our basil/lime juice fresh every day.” So they juice the basil?
Next time, I’m trying that.