Basil Gimlet: a new twist on a classic cocktail

posted in: Gin and Juniper | 0

In our never-ending search for the perfect gin cocktail, we will spare no effort.  The Barcelona gin team (guided by our faithful gin dog, Ruddles) are constantly searching for new gins and out of the ordinary cocktail recipes that will elevate gin into a thing of pure beauty. And the wonderful thing about gin is that (unlike vodka) its unlimited flavour combinations and subtle infusions mean it is now one of the most versatile cocktail spirits out there. Gone are the days when we simply poured Gordons (paid link) into a gin and tonic with a few lumps of ice. These days, gin is high art.  It is now made from everything from cows milk to seaweed and infused with everything from chili peppers to lobster (yes, really!)

The current wave of talented mixologists know the subtle secrets and closely guarded flavour combinations that bring out the subtle aromas and complex flavours that modern gin now delivers.  Some of these can be extremely fancy (even, dare I say it, pretentious). But, whatever you think about fancy mixologists, they have livened up the gin scene dramatically over the last 5 years.  In fact, we are now only limited by our imagination.

Upgrading an iconic cocktail

But for some of us, we just keep going back to the classics. That’s why we want to share with you a simple recipe that offers a clever slant on an established classic gin cocktail.  Most of us will already be familiar with the iconic Gimlet, full of tart, limey acidity and lots of gin.  But here’s a nice twist on the original which softens the tartness by adding some simple syrup.  And a handful of muddled basil leaves gives it a lovely earth taste which counters some of the acidity. This is the perfect drink to bridge the gap between summer and winter – well worth a try.


  • Basil leaves
  • 45 ml gin
  • 1 tbsp simple syrup
  • 20 ml fresh lime juice


  • Muddle the Basil leaves, lime and simple syrup in a shaker
  • Add gin and fill to top with ice cubes
  • Shake for 10 seconds and strain into cocktail glass
  • Garnish with Basil leaf and serve

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

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What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

Yo Ho, Ho! (and a bottle of gin)

Did you know that Royal Navy officers received a daily ration of gin until as recently as 1970? In fact, the Royal Navy’s worldwide reach is partly responsible for gin becoming a global drink.  As early as the 18th century, gin became associated with beneficial medical properties, offering cures for a variety of illnesses.  At that time, it became mandatory for Royal Navy vessels to set sail with specific quantities of medicinal gin on board.

Gin commissioning kits

In fact, from the 18th century onwards, all newly commissioned Royal Navy ships received something called a “Gin Commissioning Kit”. This was basically a wooden box. But, open the lid and inside, you would find two bottles of “Navy Strength” gin and accompanying glasses.  This gin tradition lasted for more than 200 years and only ended around 50 years ago.

The invention of the Gimlet

Gin was also used to ward off diseases such as scurvy, which was generally caused by a lack of vitamin C on long sea voyages. To counter this disease, the Royal Navy prescribed lemons as a cure.  After a few years they moved to limes, sourced from the Caribbean. This eventually led to the creation of one of the classic gin cocktails, the Gimlet.

So, thank you Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette, Royal Navy surgeon, for creating a medicinal drink. Gin to “fortify” and Roses Lime Cordial to “immunise” – a combination that has stood the test of time.