Basil-Strega Cavimlet. You Heard Me.

Thanks to my spousal equivalent (gardening, the Inquisition, plastic footwear––hard to name one the most appalling), we have a deck festooned with flowers and fecund with herbs. Why, by the way, do gardening types plant basil? I love it, too, but every summer all you hear from them is “I have so much basil; use some of my basil, please, I can’t keep up;” and my favorite, “really, this homemade pesto will keep in your freezer for years.” I love pesto. Pesto, dear friends, goes best on what? Exactly: pasta, bread, risotto––all things one should enjoy, but which go down somewhat slowly, especially in summer heat when there is all that fresh basil ruining friendships.

Don’t eat all that basil (your wardrobe and our nation’s healthcare system will thank you), drink some of it. I’m into bitter Italian aperitivi this summer the way Silvio Berlusconi is into underage prostitutes and I’ve created a cocktail that’s just sweet and tart, luscious and crisp, soothing and bracing, fresh and developed enough to satisfy all the tastes at a Berlusconi bacchanal.

For 4 Basil-Strega Cavimlets: place 16 or so fresh basil leaves in a cocktail shaker, add a teaspoon or two of sugar, the juice of two limes and muddle. Add 4 splashes (about 2 oz) of Strega and the same (or a bit less) of good gin (Hendrick’s or Tanqueray 10), swirl and let sit for up to 10 minutes. Add ice cubes to the shaker and shake vigorously––you want it frothy, then strain into frosty martini or gimlet glasses. You want some of the small pieces of basil so if your strainer didn’t let some through add them (a chopstick works well). Fill the glasses with a dry, reserve Cava (no, you cannot use Prosecco––Proseclet does not work as a name, sounds like medicinal gum), garnish with a generous sprig of basil, and serve. Cheers.

3 Responses to “Basil-Strega Cavimlet. You Heard Me.”
  1. Tamata says:

    Basil, Hendricks, Cava…yum….sounds great – can’t wait to try.

  2. Karen says:

    Hello, you drink sounds intriguing and refreshing. As far as planting so much basil, we just can’t help ourselves. It speaks of summer…sliced tomatoes with basil is delicious. Pesto in the freezer is wonderful in the middle of winter when you are craving all that pasta, bread, and risotto.

  3. Laura says:

    I’ll take some of your basil, baby. Also, wouldn’t mind a cocktail 🙂

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