Mint and Basil Martini

I love a cocktail. Usually I’ll pick something that’s fruity and not too strong. But sometimes you want something a bit more grown up.

These are fragrant and refreshing but they are strong, so enjoy responsibly (or not).

These need a simple syrup. You can buy this but it’s basically equal amounts of water and sugar heated together until the sugar dissolves and it becomes a syrup. This takes a couple of minutes to do and is a fraction of the price of syrup you can buy. Once the syrup is made allow it to cool and transfer to a jar with a lid. It keeps for ages.

This cocktail works best when everything is really cold i.e. your gin and simple syrup should be chilled. I pop the cocktail glass in the freezer about 5 minutes before I plan to serve these.

Ingredients

50ml Gin (or Vodka if that’s your thing)

25 ml Simple syrup

Juice of 1 lime

4 Basil leaves

2 Mint leaves

Method

  1. Some of you may have those fancy cocktail kits with shakers and muddlers etc.
  2. I don’t, so in a small jug I add the mint, lime juice and basil and “muddle”. What this means is that you bash or bruise the leaves so they release their natural oils and flavouring. I used the end of a wooden spoon
  3. Add the gin and simple syrup, you can decide if you are the shaken (like James Bond) , or stirred like me because I didn’t have a cocktail shaker
  4. It doesn’t matter which you choose, it will still taste fabulous. Transfer to a chilled glass, making sure to not to include the bashed leaves

Lime and Lemon Grass Gin Fizz

I’m currently in mourning as I had hoped to visit Bali this Summer, but COVID 19 crapped all over that plan. Bali is my favourite place on earth, but mercilessly hot and humid at times. Being a pasty, super pale Irish girl, I often need to sit in the shade and enjoy a frosty beverage (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it)

Usually this is an ice cold Bintang (local beer), or coconut water straight from the coconut with a straw.

This is where I should have been. Do you see why I needed a cocktail.

I made this with the Balinese flavours I love in mind. To get these flavours you make a simple syrup. This is the cornerstone of loads of different cocktails, just take equal parts sugar and water and cook together with any other flavours you like.

The simple syrup will live quite happily in a sealed jar in your fridge for a month. It probably won’t last that long. I keep finding myself going all Mad Men and enjoying a pre dinner cocktail (even when dinner is just beans on toast).

Simple ingredients will transport your taste buds.

Ingredients

(for the simple syrup)

100 Grams Sugar

100 ml Water

1 Stalk Lemon grass

1 Lime (sliced)

2-3 Kaffir lime leaves (optional, but definitely takes the flavour to another level)

(for the rest of the cocktail)

Gin

Soda water

Method

  1. Bruise the lemon grass, add to a pot along with the sugar, water, lime leaves and sliced lime
  2. Bring the mix to just before the boil and reduce the heat. Simmer over a gentle heat for 10 minutes. Strain through a sieve and allow the syrup to cool
  3. You can make this cocktail as strong or as weak as you like. I usually add equal parts chilled gin and simple syrup and then top up with as much soda water as you like.
  4. Treat yourself and serve it in a fancy glass with a cute garnish (go on, you’re worth it)