This cocktail is part Mojito (in style) and part Julep (in taste), with basil replacing the mint for a distinct twist.

What to buy: This recipe is tasty with either rye or bourbon, but we preferred the robustness that came from making it with rye. Look for a good-quality American rye, such as Old Overholt.

Agave nectar is available at health food stores and online. It’s also known as agave syrup.

Game plan: To make a large quantity of this cocktail up to a day in advance, place the basil, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and process until evenly combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to add the alcohol, combine equal parts of the basil mixture and the rye, then continue with step 2.

Read more about using herbs in cocktails.

  • Yields: 1 drink
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: Under 5 mins 
  • Active: Under 5 mins

Ingredients (5)

  • 3 large basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar or Rich Simple Syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces rye


  1. Combine basil, sugar, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice and muddle until basil is broken up.
  2. Add rye and more ice and shake until condensation forms on the shaker. Strain into a martini glass and serve.