Basil Smash Cocktail Recipe

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Basil Smash Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:22

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Basil Smash cocktail, also known as Gin Basil Smash, was created in 2008 by Jörg Meyer at Le Lion Bar de Paris in Hamburg, Germany. This modern classic quickly gained popularity and became a staple in bars around the world. The cocktail is a perfect balance of herbal, citrus, and sweet flavors, making it a favorite among gin lovers and those who appreciate fresh ingredients.

  • The Basil Smash is inspired by the classic Whiskey Smash, which dates back to the 1800s
  • The cocktail has won numerous awards, including the 2008 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for Best New Cocktail
  • It is often considered a modern classic and has inspired many variations using different herbs and spirits

How Basil Smash Tastes?

The Basil Smash is a refreshing, herbaceous, and slightly sweet cocktail with a hint of tartness from the lemon juice. The gin adds a layer of complexity with its botanical flavors, while the simple syrup balances the acidity of the lemon.

Interesting facts about Basil Smash

  • The Basil Smash is sometimes called the Gin Basil Smash, highlighting the importance of gin in the cocktail
  • The cocktail is a perfect example of using fresh herbs in mixology, showcasing the versatility of basil
  • The Basil Smash is often served in a rocks glass over crushed ice, giving it a visually appealing and thirst-quenching appearance


A few good options for Basil Smash are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


Used as the base spirit, gin's botanical flavors are the soul of the Smash. Typically, 2 oz is just the right amount for the right kick without overpowering the basil and lemon. Too little, and the drink might seem like a mere lemonade; too much, and you're on a fast train to Drunktown!

Mary Mitkina

Fresh Basil Leaves

They're not called ‘smash’ for nothing! The basil is muddled to release essential oils, giving the cocktail its signature herbaceous character. The quantity here is key: too few, and you'd miss the 'Basil' in 'Basil Smash'; too many, and your drink turns into a salad.

Alex Green

Lemon Juice

The zesty lemon juice brightens up the cocktail and balances the sweetness of the syrup and the earthiness of the basil. A full ounce provides the necessary tang, but beware: more might make you pucker up excessively, less and the gin could become too assertive.

Emma Rose

Simple Syrup

Sweetness to counterbalance the acidity from the lemon, simple syrup is the peacemaker in this flavorful clash. Three-quarters of an ounce ensures harmony, but overdo it and you're licking a sugar cube; skimp and the lemon might just get the upper hand.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Basil Smash Drink

  1. In a shaker, gently muddle the basil leaves to release their oils
  2. Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker
  3. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds
  4. Double strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice
  5. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and a lemon wheel

Pro Tips

  • Use Fresh Basil: The fresher the basil, the more aromatic your cocktail will be.
  • Shake Well: Ensure you shake the cocktail well to fully blend the flavors.
  • Double Strain: Double strain the cocktail to remove any small pieces of basil.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Boards: The acidity and botanicals of the Basil Smash complement fatty meats and strong cheeses.
  • Seafood: Lighter dishes like grilled shrimp or calamari pair well with the fresh herbal notes.

Main Courses

  • Pasta with Pesto: Echoing the basil used in the cocktail, a basil-based pesto would be a delightful match.
  • Chicken or Fish: A simply seasoned chicken or fish would not overpower the cocktail's flavors.


  • Lemon Sorbet: The sorbet's sweetness and the cocktail's tartness will balance each other perfectly.
  • Fresh Fruit: The freshness of the Basil Smash matches well with the lightness of fresh fruit, such as berries or melon slices.

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What you could change in Basil Smash

  • Gin: You can substitute the gin with vodka for a less botanical flavor.
  • Basil: Mint can be used as a substitute for basil for a different flavor profile.
  • Simple Syrup: Honey or agave nectar can be used as a natural sweetener substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Cucumber Basil Smash

  • Ingredients: Substitute 1 oz of gin with cucumber-infused gin. Add 2-3 thin cucumber slices.
  • Recipe: Muddle cucumber with the basil, then follow the original recipe. This twist brings a spa-like freshness, perfect for a summer day chillout.

Spicy Basil Smash

  • Ingredients: Add a small slice of jalapeño or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the original ingredients.
  • Recipe: Muddle the spicy element with the basil. The heat will bring a fiery contrast to the cool basil and sharp lemon, giving your cocktail a kick that's sure to wake up all your senses!

Berry Basil Smash

  • Ingredients: Add a handful of fresh berries (like strawberries or raspberries).
  • Recipe: Muddle berries along with the basil. This version introduces a fruity sweetness that complements the herbal notes, making it a delightful berry patch in a glass.

In case you forgot basics how to make Basil Smash

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Basil Smash

What type of gin is best to use for a Basil Smash?

A good-quality, botanical gin works best for a Basil Smash. Brands such as Beefeater, Tanqueray, or Hendrick's are good choices.

What's the best way to muddle the basil leaves without tearing them?

Use a muddler and press the basil leaves gently against the shaker. The goal is to release the oils from the basil leaves into the cocktail, not to crush them into pieces.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemon juice?

For best results, use fresh lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice may contain preservatives and additives which could alter the flavor of your cocktail.

Can this cocktail be made in a batch for a party?

Yes, you can multiply the recipe and make it in a large punch bowl or pitcher. However, it would be best to add the basil and do the muddling shortly before serving to ensure freshness.

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