Gin Basil Smash
Cocktails,  Gin,  Recipes

Gin Basil Smash

Created in July 2008 by Joerg Meyer, owner and bartender of Le Lion Bar de Paris in Hamburg the Gin Basil Smash is his signature cocktail and was originally called Gin Pesto. It won an award: Best New Cocktail at The Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in July 2008.

The recipe is simple and for very little effort you can be sipping a delicious cocktail in your garden full of homegrown basil.


Tip ~ Traditionally Hendrick’s gin is used for this cocktail but the flavour of the basil does dominate, so any good quality gin will do.



Old fashioned



  • 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves + extra for garnish
  • 60ml / 2oz London Dry gin
  • 22.5ml / 0.75oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (I have dialled it down a little from the traditional recipe which I felt was a little sour to my taste)
  • 15ml / 0.5oz simple syrup (see recipe for how to make your own here)


  1. Muddle the basil leaves with the lemon juice in a shaker. Give them a real bashing until the lemon juice turns a vivid green.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and some ice to the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously.
  4. Add a couple of large chunks of good clear ice to your glass.
  5. Double strain the smash with a Hawthorne strainer and a fine strainer into the ice-filled glass to catch the green bits.



Fresh basil leaves


Gin Basil Smash



Variation: Gin Cilantro Smash

The Basil Smash lends itself to lots of variations. A bit of a fan of coriander (I regularly use the leaves in salads) I thought I would try substituting cilantro leaves (coriander) for the basil. Not as pretty a vivid green as the Gin Basil Smash the result was nevertheless rather delicious with a fresh green spiciness.

By the way, don’t omit the lime. It really is necessary to bring out the flavour of the cilantro/coriander.


  • A handful of cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • 60ml / 2oz London Dry gin
  • 22.5ml / .75oz  freshly squeezed Silician blood orange juice
  • 5ml / 1 bar spoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 15ml / .5oz sugar syrup



Same as before.


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