Royal Basil Smash

Royal Basil Smash Cocktail with lime wheel and basil blossom for garnish

Gently muddle the basil leaves with the citrus juices and, if possible, leave to stand for a few minutes. Add the syrup and liqueur, shake with ice and double strain into a rocks glass or highball glass filled with small ice cubes. Carefully pour the gin on top and garnish with a lime wheel and basil blossom.

Empress 1908 Gin has a stunning indigo color. Once you get past the color you have a decent London Dry Gin—but it is hard to get past that deep violet color. The color is natural and comes from including butterfly pea blossom in the infusion.

The Royal Basil Smash comes from Amy Traynor of Moody Mixologist. It is a clever riff on the Gin Basil Smash that makes full use of the properties of the gin. After the visual delight of the two-tone presentation the drink must be stirred to mix the gin and citrus. On mixing with acid from the citrus juice the color of the gin turns to a gentle lilac/pink—a true chemisty experiment, a litmus test. And then you get to drink it! The aroma from the basil leaves comes through strongly and the grapefruit liqueur makes a contribution too. The original recipe calls for four green grapes in the muddling too but we find it also works without the grapes.