Recipe: Emerald City

(Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 12 minutes, plus cooling time for the simple syrup

Servings: 1

Note: From Jack McLaughlin of Akasha Restaurant, Bar & Bakery. Thai basil is available at 99 Ranch stores and select Thai markets, as well as select farmers markets. The restaurant uses Juniper Green organic gin; you can substitute the gin of your choice (we used Plymouth).

Thai basil simple syrup

2/3 cup organic cane sugar

1 ounce fresh Thai basil leaves

1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the sugar and two-thirds cup water to a boil. Remove from the heat. Add one cup of ice to the syrup and set aside to cool.


2. Place the Thai basil leaves in a small bowl. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then remove from the heat and add the basil leaves. Strain the leaves from the water and add them to the simple syrup. In a blender, thoroughly purée the strained leaves with the simple syrup. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Makes 1 cup.

Cocktail assembly

2 ounces gin

1 ounce Thai basil simple syrup

Juice of half a lime, plus 1 slice for garnish

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, Thai basil syrup and lime juice. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of fresh lime floating on top of the drink.

Each serving: 168 calories; 0 protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 0 fat; 0 cholesterol; 1 mg. sodium.