King or Kamikaze, Basil Lillet Cocktail Rules

Are you knee deep in basil?

Did you really mean to plant, buy, beg, borrow or steal quite so much of it? It’s like something just came over you right?

Well you are not alone. There is an Old Italian saying, “make pesto while the sun shines”.

It’s a rather astute observation. It is not merely a common sense road map for dealing with summer’s great affluence of basil. Which is, after all, summer’s boldest herb.

On the surface, sure it’s a good idea to make pesto right now. Something you could can or freeze. This path will certainly ensure you access to the bright zesty influence of basil even in the darkest depths of winter.

basil and lillet with gin cocktail

But, to me there is broader interpretation. Because pesto, as you know, is a way of holding onto the bounty of basil. It is a process of suspending basil’s essence and making it available in the calmer more reflective moments of life.

Which is not to say that basil should not be celebrated in these sunshine filled August days. Of course, it should. This is when basil shines. This is its moment in the sun.

But mostly because basil really is that efficacious, that authoritative. In fact just that plain bold. It can indeed define the season over which it reigns.

So it’s no coincidence that the word basil comes from the Greek for king. It’s also no wonder we want to find a method and means to preserve and celebrate its dauntless power.

In that way you can see that basil really is a great metaphor for these glory days of summer. It is inevitable that the future holds less-zesty days to come. But it also holds more summer, more bounty– more basil.

So Sup! is starting a week dedicated to basil. You know how it works by now. You come back here day after day and I will be featuring recipes that honor the king.

gin basil lillet cocktailThere will be some expected moments. Because basil does certain things so spectacularly well that they simply cannot be bypassed.

But there will also be some impulsive, almost impetuous slants around here too.

Basil Lillet Cocktail

Like today, I am rewriting the kamikaze cocktail. My version will feature gin and the French aperitif Lillet steeped in basil’s energetic enthusiasm. I will round out the flavor with a bit of orange juice and add the unexpected crunch of cucumber. You can get Sippity Sup’s Basil Lillet Cocktail Kamikaze recipe here.

I think you will see that this is a refreshing combination. It’s as subtle as basil can be in August. But bold enough so you can enjoy some of that beautiful basil bounty with out letting it rule the roost–  just yet.

Basil Lillet Cocktail


Greg Henry