Lemon Basil Vodka Gimlet

If you live in Chicago, make sure you order a gimlet at Matchbox. For everyone else, these are a pleasant alternative.


Serves 2


  • fresh basil
  • lemons
  • vodka
  • powdered sugar
  • ice
  • sugar syrup or superfine sugar
  • muddler or wooden spoon

Moisten the rim of two highball glasses.

Sprinkle 1-2 T powdered sugar on a small plate and dredge the rim of the glass in the sugar. Set aside.

In a shaker, combine:
Zest of one lemon (peel a lemon using a vegetable peeler, being careful to just peel the top yellow layer, without the white pith)
4 fresh basil leaves
1 T sugar (preferably superfine)

Muddle together. If you don't have a muddler, use the handle of a wooden spoon to smash the basil and lemon zest into the sugar so that the essential oils are released.

Add to the shaker:
3-4 shots vodka
3-4 shots fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 ice cubes

Shake vigorously. Taste and adjust if necessary (I don't like anything to be too sweet - you may prefer yours with a bit more sugar than indicated here).

Add 4 ice cubes to each sugar-coated glass and strain prepared gimlets into each. Top with one fresh basil leaf and serve.