The Rachel: Strawberry Basil Martini (It’s Savage)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Strawberry Martini | #pkwayLast-of-the-Season Strawberries, Meet Tequila and Basil
Yup, that strawberry season is short all right. Nary such a berry at today’s market. Farms vary, so perhaps tomorrow in Copley Square. In the meantime, I am very glad I used my strawberries from last week judiciously, as I still have enough to make ice cream and one more strawberry salad. And, of course, tonight’s libation.

Truth be told, I had no intention of making such a cocktail this evening, as I’m knee deep in all kinds of non-food related activities, like, you know, work. However, the Facebook correspondence with one of my fans today about cocktails and simple syrup inspired this drink, for whom it is named.


  • 5-6 strawberries, mashed (~1, 1.5 oz)
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1-1.5 ounces basil simple syrup*
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon, ~1 tbsp
  • 1/4 ounces St. Germain (if desired)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients except St. Germain. Shake. Modify to taste, as needed. If you enjoy more savory and stronger cocktails, omit the St. Germain. If you aren’t accustomed to non-girlie martinis—I say that with love, as that’s the way I generally am—then add a bit of St. Germain, which will push it toward the sweet side. That said, I liked both versions quite a lot. Anyhow, it is for this reason that I provide quantities in a range. When you’ve got the flavor you want, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish as your little heart desires, and enjoy.

Mixologist’s Notes 
I’ll bet vodka would be terrific with this recipe, or gin for that matter. But: a) I’m out of gin (which must be remedied soon, as it’s very obviously G&T season here in the US) and b) I was tantalized by this recipe for raspberry tequila lemonade, which flew across the Twitterverse earlier today and sounded like a great variant of my beloved strawberry bourbon lemonade. I intend to try the Leite’s Culinaria recipe for sure one day but I decided to keep to the plan of writing posts this week starring strawberries.

Speaking of stars, special thanks to my friend Rachel for the conversation today. I meant that more than metaphorically, as she’s unbelievably talented and has performed on our stage for years now.

And next January at our 15th season cabaret, she will be Defying Gravity.**

Update on 30 June 2013: The vodka-based version of this cocktail, which really is a different drink, is here.

* Basil simple syrup: equal proportions water, sugar, and basil (loosely packed, stems removed). Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep 30 minutes. Strain and push on the leaves to exude all liquids. Store in refrigerator until ready for use. (Or, in my case, use immediately in a cocktail, hope for the best, then store remainder in the fridge. Hey, it was lukewarm by then, it was fine!)

** Oh, come on? Wicked, the musical? I can only go so long without my theater references, you know, and this one was utterly apropos.

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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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