August 25, 2021

Best Cucumber Basil Gimlet

This Cucumber Basil Gimlet has got to be one of the most refreshing cocktails we have had to date. It originated on a total whim. I had lots of cucumber and basil on hand, and thought hmmm this seems like it could be turned into a delicious cocktail. Sure enough, one and done — the first experiment was a winner! I have since made this cocktail for many people, and it is a big hit every single time. 

Cucumber basil gimlet ingredients laid out on cutting board, including gin, club soda, basil, lemon, lime, cucumber and simple syrup

 

Ingredients for this Cucumber Basil Gimlet

  • Fresh Cucumber: you can use whatever kind you like — seeded or seedless. You will be straining the cocktail so it does not matter too much.
  • Fresh Basil: lots of it.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: About 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons should yield around 2 oz of fresh lemon juice needed to make 2 cocktails served in rocks glasses. 
  • Fresh Lime Juice: the juice of about 1 small lime should yield about 1 oz of fresh lime juice.
  • Simple Syrup: you can purchase this at the store or make it from scratch (see below in the FAQ section for a quick how-to on making simple syrup).
  • Gin: this recipe was tested with Tanqueray London Dry Gin, but feel free to experiment with whatever kind of gin you like! 
  • Ice
  • Club Soda

 

Are you sensing a theme in the ingredients?! Freshness. The use of fresh cucumber, fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, and fresh lime juice seriously elevates this gimlet. So so refreshing and such a beautiful green color. 

 

How to Make This Cucumber Basil Gimlet

In a cocktail shaker, add the cucumber, basil and lemon juice. Muddle until the basil and cucumber are broken down, and you can smell the aromas of both. This will take a minute or two. Don’t skip this step! Muddling releases the juices, particularly from the cucumber, and this lets the flavors bind with the alcohol better for a more cohesive cocktail. 

When you muddle, instead of jamming the muddler up and down, use more of a twisting motion to avoid bruising the basil. When you are finished, it should look similar to the picture below. 

picture of Cucumber Basil Gimlet ingredients post muddle in a cocktail shaker

Next, add the lime juice, simple syrup and gin to the cocktail shaker. Fill your rocks glasses to the top with ice. Alternatively, you could serve this up (meaning the drink is shaken over ice and then served chilled, without ice, by straining it into the glass) in coupe glasses if you fancy.

Add ice to the shaker. Shake until cold. Strain into rocks glasses over the ice. Top with about 2 oz club soda per drink or to taste. Garnish with cucumber slice and fresh basil. 

finished product: 2 Cucumber Basil Gimlets sitting on a wood cutting board, picture from a birds eye view

 

Cucumber Basil Gimlet

Gin-based cocktail made with fresh cucumber, basil and citrus juices for an incredibly refreshing drink
Total Time5 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cucumber basil gimlet
Servings: 2 drinks
Author: Kelly Wagner, MS, RD, LDN

Equipment

  • cocktail shaker
  • muddler
  • rocks glasses

Ingredients

  • 4 slices cucumber ~0.25 inch thick slices, cut up
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil
  • 2 oz lemon juice juice of about 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
  • 1 oz lime juice juice of about 1 small lime
  • 1.5 oz simple syrup
  • 3 oz gin
  • 4 oz club soda

Instructions

  • In cocktail shaker, muddle cucumber and basil with lemon juice until broken down and you can smell the aromas of both.
  • Add lime juice, simple syrup and gin to cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake until cold.
  • Strain into rocks glasses over ice.
  • Top each drink with ~2 oz club soda or to taste.
  • Garnish with cucumber slice and fresh basil.

FAQ

What is a gin gimlet?

A gimlet traditionally is a cocktail made with gin, lime juice and simple syrup, usually served up (chilled by shaking with ice and then strained). The origin of the gimlet is a bit contested. It may have been named after a tool, which is not the most exciting story. Another theory is that the drink was named after a British Royal Navy surgeon Rear-Admiral Sir Thomas Gimlette, who may have introduced this drink to get his sailors to drink vitamin C-containing lime juice to prevent scurvy. 

 

How to pronounce gimlet

Gimlet is pronounced like gim-lit, with a hard “g” like in the word “give.”

 

How do you make simple syrup? 

You boil equal parts sugar and water. It really is that simple. Bring the sugar and water to a boil and keep over heat, stirring regularly, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. You can store this in a sealed glass container in your refrigerator for up to 1 month. If you’re going to make a few rounds of this Cucumber Basil Gimlet, boiling ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water will give you plenty of simple syrup to use for cocktail making adventures.

 

Can I make this Cucumber Basil Gimlet with vodka?

You absolutely can! It’s a nice variation if you aren’t into gin. That being said, the fresh ingredient flavors are what you taste most in this cocktail, so even if you think you don’t like gin at this moment in time, you might surprise yourself by liking this cocktail so it’s worth a try! 

 

Can I make this Cucumber Basil Gimlet as a mocktail?

Yes! You can absolutely omit the gin and make this as a mocktail. You could add lemonade, water, or club soda in place of the gin. If you sub in club soda, omit that during the cocktail shaking step and simply add at the end. 

 

If you’re intrigued by dietitian-created cocktail recipes, be sure to also check out our Healthy Margarita! We hope you enjoy this refreshing Cucumber Basil Gimlet! If you try it, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

 

Receta en Español

Este Gimlet de pepino y albahaca tiene que ser uno de los cócteles más refrescantes que hemos probado. Fue un accidente total. Tenía un montón de pepino y albahaca a mano, y pensé hmmm, esto parece que podría convertirse en un cóctel delicioso. Efectivamente, una prueba y listo: ¡el primer experimento salió perfecto! Desde entonces he preparado este cóctel para muchas personas y siempre ha sido un éxito total. Esta receta también se puede hacer sin alcohol, simplemente reemplaza el gin con una limonada, agua con gas, o agua. Salud!

Cucumber Basil Gimlet recipe card in spanish

 

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About the Author: Kelly Wagner, MS, RD, LDN

I'm a Registered Dietitian (RD) based in Chicago, IL. I have worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including dialysis, ICU, as well as one-on-one nutrition counseling and groups.
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