Dear SOS: I had the most refreshing cocktail at the Girl & the Fig in Sonoma called a "Gin"-ger basiltini. Described as "cucumber-infused gin, muddled basil, ginger simple syrup & fresh-squeezed lime juice," this would be a delicious brunch libation.
Dear Susan: We loved the harmony of flavors in this cocktail. It marries the bright, fresh flavors of basil and lime with delicate cucumber and spicy ginger. Make the cucumber gin and ginger syrup in advance to chill. You'll have enough for 15 to 20 drinks, but both keep up to two weeks.
Total time: 3 minutes for the cocktail, plus cooking and steeping time for the infused gin and simple syrup.
Servings: 1 cocktail
Note: Adapted from the Girl & the Fig.
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 bottle gin, use your favorite gin
Place the cucumber and gin in a clean glass jar. Seal the lid tightly and set aside for 5 days, shaking once a day. Strain the gin through a few layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into the original gin bottle. Label the bottle and refrigerate before using.
Ginger simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 (1-inch) piece of ginger, peeled and very thinly sliced
In a medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add the ginger, allowing it to steep until the mixture is fully cool. Strain the syrup through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a clean glass jar. This makes about 1 cup ginger simple syrup, more than is needed for a single cocktail. Cover and refrigerate; the syrup will keep, refrigerated, for 2 weeks.
6 basil leaves, divided
Juice of half a lime
1 1/2 ounces cucumber-infused gin
1/2 ounce ginger simple syrup
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle together 5 basil leaves with the lime juice. Fill the shaker with ice, then add the gin and simple syrup. Shake the ingredients vigorously, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the remaining basil leaf and serve immediately.
Each cocktail: 139 calories; 0 protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 1 mg. sodium.