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Local Libations: Basil Martini

2010 August 6

by Kat Durant

Hello RecipeRelay readers! I’m Kat and I’m very excited to be joining you here every Friday to share a new cocktail inspired by each week’s recipe.  For my first RecipeRelay Garden Fresh cocktail I was inspired by the cabbage in Sarah’s Thursday dish.  That being said,  I really wasn’t sure what to do with a cabbage inspired cocktail. My first thoughts were of Eastern Europe and tough times when one would have only cabbage for dinner, and that thought lead, of course, to vodka!  The potato vodka is the perfect rustic complement to the cabbage while the basil harmonizes with Sarah’s apricot and tomato sauce.

I decided to use Karlsson’s Gold Vodka, a vodka I recently tried at Tales of the Cocktail New Orleans, the international festival of cocktails.  Karlsson’s uses potatoes grown in the cold climate of Cape Bjare, Sweden, which slows the ripening process allowing the potatoes to absorb minerals, developing a richer taste.  With a good potato vodka the sweetness of the potato surfaces as you sip.  Although most people think of potatoes when they think of vodka, typically only about 10% of all vodka is actually made from potatoes while the rest are distilled from grain.

I picked up my bottle of Karlsson’s Gold from Village Square Liquor and Keg in San Diego.  For this cocktail I also used basil from my herb garden and simple syrup, which I made ahead of time and allowed to cool.  Simple syrup is nice to have on hand for making drinks and very easy to make: 1 part sugar + 1 part water, bring to a boil until the sugar is dissolved, then cool and keep in the fridge.

Basil Martini

Prep time: 5 minutes (allow more time if simple syrup is not already on hand)

Yield: 1 serving

Tools: Cocktail shaker, lemon press (optional)


  • 2 oz. Karlsson’s Gold Vodka (or your preferred vodka)
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • small handful basil leaves

Cooking Directions

  1. Add basil to the shaker and top with a handful of ice. Add the remaining ingredients and shake vigorously!
  2. Pour into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Garnish with a basil leaf.
  4. Enjoy!


  • Lance Jordan

    Hi Kat.
    I’m the manager for Karlssons here in San Diego. That sounds like a great drink! Thanks for talking about Karlssons. If you or any of your readers are interested we are getting together for some Karlssons drinks at Hotel Indigo this Friday 6pm to 9 or so. Come down and introduce yourself or contact me earlier.

    All the best,

    Lance Jordan

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