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baking prep

tipsy tuesday - basil rathbourbon

Happy Tipsy Tuesday! And a happy Galentines Day too, to all you Leslies and Anns out there. We know who we are.

As promised in an earlier post (I know, it took me a lot longer than I said it would), this week's Tipsy Tuesday is the first of three original cocktails I invented for Aaron's birthday party last month.

This was my favorite of the trifecta, both because I am a grapefruit fiend and because its name is taken from my favorite childhood actor. Yes, we can all take a moment to recognize that I was a strange one. At age 10, my friends were running around like most kids in the 90's, quoting the Lion King and Nickelodeon bits, while I spent my weekly tv ration sitting in our basement watching Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce solve murders on our giant monster of a 1970's tube television with a small, crackly screen. Childhood, man. It was a good time.

So when I started putting these cocktails together and giving them pun names, I knew that the basil one must certainly include the best of Basils. And while we're on the topic of literary-ish puns, take note of the book holding this particular libation. It was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law (Aaron's brother's wife) and every page has a cocktail named with a literary pun. (The one below was also a gift - this time from my college roommate. It's about plants!) My joy knows no bounds.

Typically when I've used grapefruit in cocktails I've paired it with gin, but I had bourbon on hand and frankly gin wouldn't have given me the Rathbourbon possibility, so bourbon it was. It actually paired really well and the basil from the simple syrup cuts through with a nice herbal note. I like infusing my simple syrup when possible. It gives a flavor to the sweetness rather than just being sweetness for sweetness's sake.

So with that, raise a glass with me to good ol' Basil!


basil rathbourbon

yield: 2 cocktails


½ cup water ½ cup sugar 1-2 sprigs of fresh basil

3 oz bourbon 4 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice ¾ oz basil simple syrup 4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters


For the Simple Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and basil to a boil and simmer for several minutes. It should begin to thicken slightly into a syrupy texture, but it's ok it if doesn't.

  2. Allow the syrup to cool at room temperature, then strain out the basil and store in a glass jar until ready to use.

For the Cocktail

  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

  2. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, then pour into two martini glasses.

  3. Garnish with a wedge of grapefruit and a basil leaf.



Pick varieties and flavors that bring you joy. Not everyone is a baker and not everyone likes to cook. 


Enjoy the process. One of my favorite things while baking is to knead the dough and feel how it changes in my hands. I love chopping vegetables that came fresh from the farmer's market, brushing the dirt off the leaves, and creating with something that came from the earth.


Listen to jazz. I know this is a personal preference, but there are few things that give me quite the feeling of contentment as cooking a good meal with a glass of wine and a Thelonius record on in the background.

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