Not a day after I’d made a complete mess of my pesto attempt, I found this recipe and forwarded it onto my momterage. Kelli immediately emailed me back with the promise of concocting this for the next concert in the park. “I have another basket-full of basil,” she wrote. “We’ll have this ready for Wednesday.”
In the charming Southern Californian town where I live, the municipal band has free concerts in the park every Wednesday night. Everybody goes. And I mean everybody. And their kids. It’s a community love fest, with little tots running free, grade-school kids chasing each other over the green, middle school kids huddled in tight circles checking each other out, high school kids nervously flirting…and us grown ups dining al fresco and surreptitiously drinking behind the family picnic baskets. Alcohol is not allowed in the public park, but everybody drinks anyway. We’re just better at hiding it than the teens.
These basil daiquiris weren’t the clear green I’d hoped they’d be, but that’s because Kelli used purple and green basil, which is an admirable use of resources. Nor did we have clever cocktail glasses or twists of lime to tart them up. Kelli and Christy smuggled them over in two soup containers hidden in a little red Radio Flyer wagon. And we drank them out of plain plastic cups. When officious sorts came around, we simply hid the cups underneath the wagon. Such is the subversiveness of moms.
But no matter. Even out of a brown paper bag, basil daiquiris are delicious. Sweet, refreshing, easy on the tastebuds…and delivering an easy, delightful rum buzz that sneaks up on you before you know it. A huge hit, soon consumed. Everybody remarked on the sweet, unusual taste…and came back for more. A giant hat’s off to Jessie Bluejay, the San Francisco writer who sent her url about this cocktail to Slashfood, where I picked it up.
Here’s her recipe:
A handful of basil (20-30 leaves or so)
juice from two limes
6 Tablespoons of sugar syrup (see below for instructions)
Copious amounts of white rum (at least a cup)
Splash of water
Make your own syrup. It’s a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. Boil your water, add sugar, stir, and when the sugar dissolves, voila! syrup. Put the basil leaves and the lime juice in a shaker and muddle it up (note: I let Kelli the expert do all of this, so I can’t really say what muddle means. Use your imagination.) Add the sugar syrup, the rum, the water, and a handful of ice. Shake it like the 5.4 quake here on Tuesday and pour it over ice. Consume.
Kelli and I are going to perfect this cocktail on Friday. Make it green. Use proper cocktail stems. And twists of lime. Everyone’s invited. Come on down!