Summer Cocktails: The Strawberry Basil Gimlet

by Pamela

summer cocktails, gimlet recipe, cocktail recipes, gin cocktails, cocktails with basil

While being called “gimlet eyed” might make you think someone has caught on to your indulgent drinking ways, it actually means that you’ve got a deep penetrating stare (also something that is known to happen to those that consume too many gimlets or other alcoholic beverages).  Which is also not necessarily a good thing.  But this strawberry basil gimlet recipe is a good thing…a very good thing.  I know you’re trying to get your summer cocktails lined up, and this one is definitely something to keep close at hand.  It’s a super easy cocktail recipe and it tastes delicious.  Oh, and the ingredients can be found all season long no matter where you live.

A traditional gimlet recipe is made with gin and lime…that’s it.  Really, that’s all there is to it. But like all good things, changes occurred in the makeup of this simple cocktail. I suppose it might have something to do with the fact that some people don’t like the taste of gin. Whatever the reason, the gimlet recipe that most people abide by today has replaced the gin with vodka.

This fresh strawberry basil gimlet recipe should make even those who turn their noses up at gin happy.  The fruit and herbal flavors work really well with the already herby flavor of the gin.  And when you get those really good tasting strawberries, this cocktail almost tastes like grandma’s fresh jam in a glass. Well, if your grandma was a bootlegger back in the days of Prohibition…but let’s just go with that sweet grandmotherly vision for now.


As far as summer cocktails go, I’m always searching for ways to incorporate fresh fruit into my glass. I suppose it makes me feel more like summer if what I’m drinking tastes like it really goes with the season, unlike those ‘fruit’ flavored liquors that taste like artificial fruits of summer.

Along with the fresh fruit comes fresh herbs. You may have noticed more and more cocktails with basil showing up on bar menus. Basil is one of those herbs that’s available year round, as a fresh herb. It blends really nicely with all kinds of fruits and many of the clear spirits found on the bar. I like using it in cocktail recipes because it makes the drink taste a little different. I’ve found myself adding it to some traditional cocktail recipes just to give them some new life.

So hit the market, break out your muddlers and give gin another chance.  You’re really going to fall in love with this strawberry basil gimlet.

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Recipe: The Strawberry Basil Gimlet


  • 2 Large Strawberries
  • 3 Basil Leaves
  • Juice from 1/2 Lime
  • Squirt of Agave Nectar (or simple syrup)
  • 1 3/4 Ounces Gin


  1. Toss the strawberries, basil, lime juice and agave nectar into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Muddle everything with a muddler or a wooden spoon. You really want to break up the strawberries (to get all the juice out of them) and bruise up the basil to release the oils.
  3. Add ice to the shaker and pour the gin in.
  4. Cover and shake until your fingers are numb.
  5. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.
  6. Garnish with a strawberry and basil leaf.
  7. Serve.

Quick notes

I like to serve this with little pieces of the strawberries floating around in it. But you can use a fine mesh strainer to strain them out if you would like to serve the cocktail clear.


A grind of fresh black pepper in the cocktail shaker also adds a nice spicy touch to this cocktail.

Preparation time: 7 minute(s)

Cooking time:

Diet type: Vegetarian

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


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Brandon December 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Great recipe…I order the Strawberry Gimlet at RuthChris every time I go for dinner, and was searching for a good recipe. Thanks, looking forward to making then for my guests on New Years.

Pamela December 29, 2013 at 10:19 am

Hi Brandon,

I didn’t know about that cocktail at Ruth Chris. I’m glad I could help you out with this recipe. I can’t wait to hear what your guest think about them. Have a great new year. CHEERS!

Wylee July 31, 2013 at 6:14 am

You just made me want to drink at eight in the morning.

Pamela July 31, 2013 at 8:07 am

Wylee, my motto is…it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Besides, there’s strawberries in there…just think of them as the topping for your alcohol (made from grains too) flakes. 🙂

LP @dishclips May 2, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Looks very refreshing for the upcoming summer months.

Pamela May 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm

It’s definitely a refreshing cocktail.

Lana April 22, 2012 at 9:33 pm

As adventurous as I am with eating, drinking finds me stubbornly fighting for the old favorites:) I managed to finally embrace the flavor of gin seven or eight years ago, but vodka is still my go-to spirit:) No, I have not made anything with basil in it even though I always have a big pot of it on the patio. And I would always go for rum to marry my strawberries. I know, stuck in the 90s I am! But there is hope and that’s where you come in:) I love your cocktails and have quite a collection of “things to make one day” from your blog. I know I will love the strawberry basil gimlet (and I have every ingredient at my disposal right now).
Great photo:)

Pamela April 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Lana, I think this one would be right up your alley. But…you could swap out the gin for vodka in this recipe too.

Susan in the Boonies April 21, 2012 at 11:03 am

This sounds fresh and delicious! Lovely pictures as well!

Pamela April 21, 2012 at 11:48 am

Thank you Susan. 🙂

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