Yesterday, I posted about my new farmhouse inspired planter box for growing fresh herbs. In my box, I included two kinds of basil—sweet basil and purple basil. There are so many things I like to use basil for… homemade pizzas on the grill, caprese salad.. but one thing I had on my mind when I planted that basil was something new that I recently learned how to make— Cucumber Basil Martinis!
A couple of weeks ago, I had to go out of town for a work conference that just so happened to be in Cedar Falls, where both of my kids live! I drove down the night before and stayed with my daughter in her new house. It really worked out so well, because I got a bonus visit with my kids, and didn’t have to get up before dawn to make the 2 hour drive like some of the other teachers did. Plus, my sweet kids treated me like a queen!
Dinner fit for royalty…
My son and his girlfriend prepared an incredible dinner in my daughter’s beautiful, newly remodeled kitchen. My daughter and her fiance handled the clean up. I just got to sit back and relax. It was one of those lovely early-spring evenings perfect for sitting outside. The dinner was magnificent. I mean, these kids really outdid themselves. There was spinach and strawberry salad, New York Strip on the grill, cilantro-lime shrimp and veggie kabobs, and creamy smashed potatoes. It was all amazing. These kids sure don’t cook like we did back in college (ramen noodles, anyone?). This was impressive.
While the dinner was cooking, my son set out some cheese and crusty bread, and then whipped us all up one of these Cucumber Basil Martinis. It was amazing. My kids are so grown up these days. At 21 and 24, I can’t believe what self-sufficient, smart, strong, and kind young people they have become. I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but I thank God everyday for letting me be their mama.
Y’all are in for a treat, because I made sure they gave me the recipe for this masterpiece! I’ve since created it a couple of times already, and I have no doubt it will happen many more times this summer, because of that fresh basil growing in my herb box. It’s just a tiny bit sweet, and has a lovely freshness to it because of the homemade cucumber-infused vodka and fresh basil leaves.
I think the secret to this cocktail is the fresh cucumber-infused vodka. You can buy all kinds of flavored vodkas at the liquor store, but infusing your own is super easy, and has a much better flavor. I got my husband this infusion kit for Christmas, and it came with everything you need to make your own infused liquors. But we sometimes have more than one type of infusion going at once, so a quart-sized mason jar with a lid works perfectly for this also. You can buy plastic lids that just twist on, instead of regular canning lids, but either will work.
Peel and slice one medium-sized cucumber. Place it in the bottom of the mason jar, and then fill to the top with vodka. Let it infuse in the fridge for at least 12 hours, longer is even better for extra cucumber flavor. You can leave the cucumber in there for up to a week, but then strain and remove it, leaving just your flavored vodka. This will keep in your fridge for at least a month, but I promise you, it won’t stick around that long. 🙂
Creating the Cocktail
When you’re ready to prepare the drink, tear up 2-3 large basil leaves and muddle them in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. If you don’t own a muddler yet, I would definitely suggest investing in one. We use ours quite a bit, especially for mojitos, which will be happening this summer for sure, because of that fresh mint I planted!
Next, add 3 parts of your cucumber vodka to the shaker. For two martinis, this was about 3 oz. Follow with 2 parts lemonade, or about 2 oz, and one part lemon juice. Add a splash of simple syrup, or enough to sweeten it to your liking. I prefer this one a bit on the less sweet side, which allows the basil and cucumber flavors to shine through. Add about 1/2 cup ice, and shake vigorously. With the strainer lid on your shaker, gently pour into your martini glasses. You can garnish with another basil leave floating on top to make it pretty.
Enjoy! (preferably outside in the sunshine…)
Give this one a try, friends. I promise, you won’t regret it. And do try infusing your own vodka. You can do so with an infinite amount of flavors! I make Bloody Marys with our own black peppercorn infused vodka and it’s amazing too. I’ll show you that recipe sometime soon. Cheers!
Cucumber Basil Martinis
- 3 oz cucumber infused vodka
- 2 oz prepared lemonade your favorite kind
- 1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 splash simple syrup
- 2-3 large basil leaves
- Tear up basil leaves into the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Muddle.
- Add the vodka, lemonade, lemon juice and simple syrup.
- Add about 1/2 cup ice to shaker, place lid, and shake vigorously for several seconds.
- Strain into 2 martini glasses.
- Garnish by floating a full basil leaf on top.