Gin Cocktail with Cucumber and Basil
Gin Cocktail with Cucumber and Basil

Take a walk on the savory side with this gin-based herbal cocktail. It delivers a kick of fresh herbs, hints of citrus and a vegetal flavor brightened by celery bitters and a pinch of salt.

Well that didn’t happen everyone At night, but once or twice a week in spring and summer, herbs, berries, and stone fruit found their way into my drinks from my CSA crates.

In addition to the fruity and sweet cocktails, I have also experimented with savory cocktails – my palate moves quite naturally. This cocktail combines the fresh juices of muddled cucumber and basil with aromatic gin, crisp Lillet Blanc, lemon juice, a little simple syrup, a few dashes of celery bitters and a pinch of salt for balance.

Tips for preparing savory cocktail recipes

Vegetables and herbs are subject to their own inconsistencies, and how you handle them can affect the flavor of your drink.

I recommend taking a bite out of the cucumber first before messing it up to see if it’s bitter. If this is the case, you can go ahead and peel the skins before mixing, which will help offset any bitterness.

First choice: I like to use Persian cucumbers—they’re about 6 inches long, slender, and thin-skinned—because they don’t have large seeds and tend to be sweeter than what we think of the standard cucumber. Sometimes they are sold commercially as mini or baby cucumbers in packs of 5 or 6.

Second choice: The English cucumber has similar characteristics to the Persian, but is longer and is often sold in stores tightly wrapped in plastic. If you have the English variety, you can slice a piece that weighs about 4 ounces (the approximate weight of a Persian cucumber) to use in this recipe and it will work just fine.

Only if you must: The standard cucumber, or American slice cucumber, is broad with a thick dark green skin that can be bitter. For this reason it is not my first choice for this cocktail. Commonly sold in grocery stores, this pickle is coated in wax. If this cucumber is your only option, I suggest peeling, halving, and removing the seeds before mixing to avoid bitterness.

I also use a pinch of salt in this recipe. Salt increases the ingredients you use in any given recipe, and a cocktail is no different.

Schnapps and Bitters

London Dry Gin, an everyday gin style, is light-bodied with prominent juniper notes. If you have Plymouth Gin, which is sourced from Plymouth, England, you will get a more lemony flavor and less juniper. Either will work for this recipe.

The French aperitif Lillet Blanc have been around since the late 1800s. It’s similar to vermouth, made from white Bordeaux grapes and flavored with what a friend of mine calls “roots and shoots” (think spices, herbs, and other botanicals). It’s then infused with citrus liqueur, making it a little more alcoholic than wine but not as potent as pure spirits. Fruity but not too sweet, it adds a bit of balance to the acidic and botanical flavors of this cocktail. It’s an investment, but you’ll also enjoy drinking this bottle neat over ice.

Speaking of bitters, there are so many flavors available online or at well stocked liquor stores that you can play around with. If you can’t find a celery bitters, the drink will survive without it. These stores are also likely to carry ready-made simple syrup for added convenience, although it’s a breeze to make (equal parts sugar and water, heated until dissolved, then chilled).

Cocktails tools and techniques

Bartenders have been using a stir bar for as long as they’ve been serving drinks. Traditionally made of wood and shaped like a small bat, these days you can find them made of metal or plastic in various shapes and sizes. I prefer wooden pestles, and one long enough so you don’t bang your hand on the shaker while stirring.

Its purpose is to extract the juices and flavor from the ingredients that will enhance the drink without overpowering the flavors. You do this by gently blending the ingredients rather than pounding the ingredients. Here the basil is mixed together with the cucumber to release the fresh herbal taste. If you ended up just putting it in the drink, you would only get the smell. As nice as that is, I wanted to try it.

Cocktails with citrus fruits, simple syrups or other mixers are shaken in a cocktail shaker. (Unlike cocktails that are made with just spirits, like a Manhattan, which are stirred.) There are several different types of shakers (some have a lid and built-in strainer), but I prefer the Boston shaker, which has a cocktail can is a beer glass. It is streamlined and rarely leaks.

An important step in preparing a cocktail is chilling your glass. Even if you’ve just shaken the drink with ice, pouring it into a room temperature glass won’t give you the desired result – a crisp, cold, refreshing drink. From the ingredients to the technology to the service, all steps along the way contribute to the enjoyment of a well-prepared drink.

How to garnish this gin cocktail

Garnishes can be fun and liven up the cocktail, but I don’t think they’re critical. If you don’t feel like making the garnish as pictured, it’s perfectly fine to omit it altogether or substitute a simple lemon twist.

If you want to spice up the drink, you can float a few small fresh basil leaves on top. The tender celery leaves from the inside of the head, which are more yellow than green, would also be a nice garnish here.

More summer sipper cocktail recipes

  • Negroni cocktail
  • Pimm’s Cup
  • Aviation Cocktail
  • 50/50 martini
  • Old Carre

Gin cocktail with cucumber and basil

preparation time
5 minutes

total time
5 minutes

2 servings


  • 1 lemon

  • 1 (6 inches long) Persian cucumbercut into large pieces

  • 8th big fresh basil leaves

  • 4 ounces gin

  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup

  • 1/2 ounce Lillet

  • 4 dashes celery Bitter

  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Cool the coupe glasses:

    Add a handful of ice and some water to two 4-ounce coupe glasses to chill.

  2. Peel and squeeze the lemon:

    Using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler, peel 2 strips of lemon zest from end to end, about 3cm long. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut a slit (about 1 inch) down the center of each lemon zest between the long ends, being careful not to cut through the entire zest.

    Squeeze the juice into a pourable container. You will use it later.

  3. Crush cucumber and basil:

    Place the cucumber and basil in a cocktail shaker. Press lightly with a pestle or the handle of a wooden spoon; Mash and mash cucumbers and basil to release the oils and juices.

  4. Pour the spirits, simple syrup and bitters into the shaker:

    In a cocktail shaker, add gin, 30ml lemon juice, simple syrup, Lillet, bitters and salt. Fill the shaker halfway with ice and shake for 20-30 seconds to cool.

  5. Putting together, garnishing and serving the cocktail:

    Discard the ice water in the coupe glasses. Strain the cocktail evenly into the chilled glasses. Attach the lemon peels to the rim of each glass for garnish. Surcharge.

nutritional information (per serving)
328 calories
1g Fat
53g carbohydrates
5g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!