Poison Ivy Cocktail Recipe

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Poison Ivy Nutrition Facts






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 Poison Ivy cocktail is a modern creation that draws inspiration from the classic herbal and anise flavors. It's a hit among those who enjoy a refreshing yet potent drink, with a name that suggests a certain edginess and danger, much like the infamous plant it's named after.

  • Origins: While the exact origin is unclear, it's a cocktail that has gained popularity in craft cocktail bars.
  • Popularity: It's particularly favored by those who appreciate complex flavors and a strong herbal presence in their drinks.
  • Occasions: Perfect for a night out or a themed party, the Poison Ivy is as much a conversation starter as it is a delightful sip.

How Poison Ivy Tastes?

The Poison Ivy cocktail offers a tantalizing balance of flavors. It's herbaceous and slightly sweet, with a refreshing citrus tang and a subtle hint of anise from the absinthe. The basil leaves add a fresh aromatic quality that complements the sharpness of the lime juice.

Interesting facts about Poison Ivy

  • The name 'Poison Ivy' is a playful nod to the cocktail's bold and somewhat dangerous allure.
  • Absinthe, often called 'The Green Fairy', adds a mystical quality to the drink.
  • Basil is not a common cocktail ingredient, making the Poison Ivy a unique choice for those looking to try something different.


A few good options for Poison Ivy are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose


The 2 oz of Vodka are crucial as the base spirit, providing a clean canvas for the other flavors. It's neutral, yet potent—it kicks but doesn’t overpower. Less vodka would make a weaker drink; more could overpower the finesse of the other ingredients.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Juice

0.75 oz Lime Juice adds the right zing. It's like the spark in a relationship, without it, things could get a little flat. Go easy, or you'll turn from Poison Ivy into Sour Grape.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

At 0.75 oz Simple Syrup, it's just enough sweetness to balance the tartness. Any less, and your pucker-face might scare guests. More, and you’d think you're drinking hummingbird food.

Emma Rose


Just 0.25 oz Absinthe because we want whispers of intrigue, not a shouting match of anise flavor. It's the mysterious stranger at the bar. Less, and you might miss the party; more, and it's an anise-flavored takeover.

Mary Mitkina

Basil Leaves

4 Basil Leaves, muddled, not crushed. They're the secret garden - fresh and fragrant. They’re what makes this cocktail memorable. Less, and you miss the essence; more, and it’s a salad in a glass.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Poison Ivy Drink

  1. Chill a cocktail glass.
  2. In a shaker, muddle the basil leaves gently.
  3. Add the vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, and absinthe to the shaker.
  4. Fill the shaker with ice and shake vigorously.
  5. Double strain into the chilled glass.
  6. Garnish with a basil leaf or a lime wheel.

Pro Tips

  • Muddle Gently: Over-muddling the basil can make the drink bitter, so be gentle.
  • Chill the Glass: A chilled glass will keep your cocktail colder for longer, enhancing the flavors.
  • Double Strain: To ensure a smooth texture, double strain to remove any small bits of basil.

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled shrimp or seared scallops with a zesty lime dressing complement the citrus notes.
  • Caprese salad matches the freshness of the basil in the cocktail.
  • Oysters with a mignonette sauce would pair beautifully with the anise notes of absinthe.

Main Courses

  • Lemon-herb chicken would go well with the herbal and citrusy flavors.
  • Pasta with a basil pesto echoes the basil in the drink.


  • Lemon sorbet or key lime pie for a refreshing and tangy end to the meal.

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What you could change in Poison Ivy

  • Vodka: A high-quality gin can be used for a more botanical twist.
  • Absinthe: Pernod or another anise-flavored liqueur can be a substitute if absinthe is not available.
  • Basil Leaves: Mint leaves can be used for a different, yet still refreshing, profile.

Explore all drinks starting with P here

And of course - twists🍹

Green Envy

  • Substitute vodka with gin for a more botanical kick.
  • Add a dash of green chartreuse.
  • Replace basil with mint for a different herbal note. It's greener, it's envy-inducing. It's the not-so-distant cousin who skipped the family biz for an herb garden.

The Fiery Ivy

  • Infuse the vodka with chili peppers for a fiery twist.
  • Drop the absinthe and add a touch of ginger syrup. Spicy and bold, this Ivy has a temper. It's Poison Ivy after she joined a salsa dance troupe.

Twilight Thyme

  • Swap simple syrup for honey syrup and introduce a sprig of thyme.
  • Add a splash of elderflower liqueur. This one's a bit more mysterious, a twilight wander in a herb garden. It's Poison Ivy's softer side, where she's contemplating the meaning of life.

In case you forgot basics how to make Poison Ivy

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 Poison Ivy

Can the Poison Ivy cocktail be made in a large batch for parties?

Yes, the Poison Ivy cocktail can be scaled up to suit the number of servings needed for a party. Mix the ingredients in a larger container or pitcher while maintaining the proportions, and then serve individual portions with ice.

Is the Poison Ivy suitable for vegans?

The ingredients listed for the Poison Ivy cocktail are all plant-based, making it suitable for a vegan diet. However, be sure to check for any non-vegan additives in commercial brands of the ingredients used.

What kind of glass is best for serving the Poison Ivy cocktail?

The Poison Ivy cocktail is typically served in a chilled cocktail glass, such as a martini glass, to enhance its visual appeal and maintain its temperature.

How can I achieve the best chill on my cocktail glass?

For optimal chill, place your cocktail glass in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before serving or fill it with ice and cold water while you prepare the cocktail.

What can I use if I don't have a shaker to make the Poison Ivy cocktail?

If you don't have a shaker, you can mix the ingredients in a large jar with a tight-sealing lid or stir the mixture vigorously in a mixing glass with ice before straining.

Can the Poison Ivy cocktail be made without alcohol for a mocktail version?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version of the Poison Ivy can be made by substituting the alcoholic ingredients with non-alcoholic alternatives like seedlip or non-alcoholic spirits that mimic the flavors of vodka and absinthe.

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