Strawberry Basil Spritzer – with Gin

Whenever our Book Club gathers, we make certain to include some sort of lovely fruit to enjoy as a part of the get together.

Normally, that would be our favorite Fruit Salad, freshly decanted from whichever bottle(s) have caught our eyes.

Oh… did I not mention that our fruit salad is wine? Red, white, rosé, we are pretty easy.

Then, for a recent small gathering, one of our members sent a recipe for a strawberry

and basil spritzer that looked interesting and refreshing, but… only sparkling water?

I thought we could do a bit better than that.

There was also a fair amount of muddling strawberries and basil in individual glasses, but, I have better things to do than that, so, a strawberry and basil smoothie it is!

But first, to make a simple syrup, which is a lot easier than folk seem to think it is.

Simple Syrup:
•1 cup sugar
•1 cup water

•16 oz whole frozen strawberries, thawed
•60 fresh basil leaves (to taste)
•1/2 cup simple syrup
•Gin (to taste)
•Sparkling water

Note: don’t care for gin? Try it anyway! But, if you really cannot deal with it, substitute vodka or rum, or, even mebbe ginger beer for a non alcoholic version.

To make the Simple Syrup, simply stir the sugar into the water in a saucepan over medium heat until it has completely dissolved. This will only take a few minutes.

Allow the syrup to cool completely, then store in the fridge for up to a week until you need it.

Simple Syrup made and cooled, let us make our strawberry and basil smoothie!

Pour the Simple Syrup over the strawberries and basil leaves in a blender jar and pulse until you have your smoothie as you like it.

Note 1: my blender has a “Smoothie” setting, so it did a bunch of the pulsing on and off on its own for a minute or two, leaving me a pretty nice drink.

Note 2: the original recipe (y’know, the one that called for all that muddling in individual glasses) called for 1-1/2 cups of trimmed strawberries and 15 basil leaves divided among four glasses. My blender method used a 16 ounce bag – or about three cups – of thawed frozen strawberries, and I started out with that, 1/2 cup of the Simple Syrup, and the 15 basil leaves.

Then, I tasted the smoothie, and, it was… nice, but… it most certainly needed more basil; so I added another dozen leaves and processed again; and then tasted again.

In the end, 60 basil leaves seemed to provide the perfect balance of basil to strawberries.

To make your Book Club Fruit Smoothie, pour the strawberry and basil mixture over ice in a glass, add gin to taste, then a splash or three of sparkling water.

Give it all a bit of a stir, then settle back and discuss your book(s).

Or not.

Our Book Club does not get caught up in minor details. As long as we have our quota of fruit, and some other tasty comestibles (in this case, Barb’s Family’s Chili Crack and a rather nice Shrimp Meatball Louis Salad with grilled Halloumi cheese), we are good.

Note: the amounts listed in this recipe made enough for eight to ten nicely poured glasses of fruit.

In case you were counting.

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