The St Germain Lemon Basil Martini combines your favorite spring and summertime flavors of citrus and basil for a bright and refreshing cocktail! It’s truly a garden party in a glass and perfect for warm weather sipping.
If you’re searching for a fresh and citrusy drink for warm weather, look no further than this St Germain Lemon Basil Martini! It leverages the wonderful flavor combination of elderflower liqueur, gin, citrus, and basil for a spirit-forward spring or summertime sipper. Though it’s a stronger cocktail, it strikes a perfect balance between citrusy, herbal, sweet, and floral. Simply put, it’s day drinking perfection!
St Germain Lemon Basil Martini quick facts
- Level of difficulty: Easy. The St Germain Lemon Basil Martini is a simple shaken cocktail suitable for any skill level!
- Number of ingredients: Five not including garnishes. That said, the garnishes are also ingredients used in the cocktail!
- Main spirit(s): Gin and St Germain Elderflower Liqueur.
- Season or occasion: This cocktail has flavors that will remind you of the spring and summer, so it’s perfect for warm weather!
- Type of cocktail: Variation on the classic martini.
Ingredients in a St Germain Lemon Basil Martini
From James Bond to Ernest Hemmingway, the martini is one of the most pervasive cocktails in USA history and pop culture! Fun fact: a martini should always be stirred, but James Bond orders his shaken when he’s on the clock so it’s slightly diluted and he can stay sharp 😂. Nowadays, the definition of a martini is as diluted as James Bond’s — you can call almost anything a martini if you serve it in a martini glass, but the classic martini is made with gin and vermouth, with a lemon twist or olives as a garnish.
The actual origin of the martini is a little bit murky. Some claim it was invented in California during the gold rush in the late 1800s, while others say it originated at New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel in 1911. While we’ll probably never know the truth behind its conception, one thing is certain: it’s one of the most popular cocktails in the world, and today you’ll find endless fun variations on the martini, including this recipe!
This summery riff on a martini is lighter, more floral and herbal, and a little bit sweeter than the classic recipe. Here’s what you need to whip it up!
- St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
- Lemon juice
- Lemon peel
- Basil leaves
- Basil sprig, for garnish
- Lemon twist, for garnish
What to know about St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
St Germain Elderflower Liqueur is a super popular liqueur that adds a wonderful floral and sweet flavor to cocktails. Here’s what you should know about it!
- What is St Germain? St Germain is a sweet French liqueur made with elderflower blossoms. It has an ABV of 20%, so it’s not too strong or too light.
- What does St Germain taste like? Sweet and floral with a sharp acidity and notes of honeysuckle, lemon, pear, and tropical fruits.
- How much does St Germain cost? A bottle of St Germain costs $32, which is totally worth it considering how versatile it is and how many cocktails it’s used in!
- Are there substitutions for St Germain? St Germain is the best elderflower liqueur on the market, but you can substitute it with any elderflower liqueur, such as Drillaud Elderflower Liqueur or St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur.
- What else can I make with St Germain? St Germain is often referred to as “Bartender’s Ketchup” because you can put it in virtually any cocktail! It’s probably best known for being a star ingredient in the French Gimlet, and you’ll see it a lot in gin cocktails in general since the flavors play so well together. You can also add a little bit to sparkling wine or white wine for a nice hint of honeysuckle sweetness, or enjoy it on its own as an apéritif!
The best gin for martinis
When it comes to picking out a gin for this cocktail or any martini, the most popular choice is a London Dry Gin, which will be juniper-forward and have strong floral and citrus notes. If you’re looking for recommendations, these are my favorite London Dry Gins!
- Hendrinks Gin
I’ve made this martini with all of the above, and it always turns out great! My personal favorite though is the Beefeater since it’s a little less juniper forward and blends seamlessly with the other ingredients.
Tips on making a St Germain Lemon Basil Martini
- Shake the basil: Adding the basil to the shaker with the other ingredients gives the drink an herbal complexity you wouldn’t get from simply adding the basil as a garnish at the end.
- Try the “Regal Shake”: When you shake the cocktail, add in a piece of lemon peel! This method of adding citrus peel to the shaker is called the Regal Shake, and it will extract oils from the peel to make the cocktail more citrusy and aromatic.
- Don’t slap the basil garnish: Adding a small sprig of basil as a garnish will enhance the aromatics and appearance of the cocktail. That said, to maintain the integrity of the basil sprig, don’t slap it since it’ll make it look more wilted. You’ll still get plenty of basil flavor and aromas since you’re adding some into the shaker!
- Garnish with a lemon twist: For a fun garnish that elevates the presentation of the drink, peel off a swath of lemon peel and trim it into a thin ribbon. Then simply twist the ribbon around a chopstick and keep it there until it holds the spiral shape. If you need some visuals, here’s a helpful guide on how to make a perfect lemon twist!
- Double strain it: Double straining improves the final appearance of the drink by preventing any fragments of basil or ice from getting into the cocktail.
How to double strain a cocktail
You should always double strain (also known as fine strain) drinks that have ingredients that break down into small pieces — like herbs or fresh fruit — for the best possible presentation. In this case, you want to double strain the cocktail to prevent any tiny specks of basil or ice from making it into the cocktail.
To double strain it, you just need a cocktail strainer, which comes included with most shakers, and a fine mesh strainer, which you likely already have in your kitchen arsenal! Once the drink is shaken, use the cocktail strainer like you normally would while holding the fine mesh strainer under the shaker. Then pour the cocktail through the cocktail strainer and mesh strainer into the serving glass.
Want to learn more about double straining? Here’s a step by step guide on how to double strain a cocktail if it’s your first time and you need some visuals!
How sweet is this drink?
This cocktail is going to be only a little bit sweeter than a martini, which is to say it’s on the drier side of the spectrum. While the St Germain liqueur does give it a hint of sweetness, it’s a dry, balanced cocktail that’s more citrusy, herbal, and spirit-forward than sweet.
How to make St Germain Lemon Basil Martini
This martini is super easy to make and whips up in just a few simple steps! As far as tools, you need a citrus squeezer or reamer, cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer, fine mesh strainer, and martini or coupe glass.
- Build the cocktail: Add the St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, gin, fresh lemon juice, lemon peel, and a few pieces of basil to a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake: Shake for about 10 seconds or until you feel the shaker get icy cold.
- Double strain: Fine strain the cocktail through the cocktail strainer and fine mesh strainer into a martini or coupe glass.
- Garnish: Garnish with a lemon twist and sprig of basil for extra aromatics.
More warm weather cocktails
If you love cocktails filled with refreshing, bright flavors and seasonal produce, here are some other cocktail recipes for the spring and summertime you should check out!
- For a gin-based tropical drink, try the Saturn! It’s a unique frozen cocktail that’s famous for being one of the few tropical gin drinks.
- Looking for a tropical rum cocktail instead? Learn how to make the perfect Mai Tai!
- If you love the combination of elderflower liqueur and gin, here are some more St Germain and gin cocktails.
- Need an easy cocktail for a summer party? Try one of these 2-ingredient summer cocktails!
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 basil leaves
- Lemon peel
- Basil sprig, for garnish
- Lemon twist, for garnish
- Combine the gin, St Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lemon juice, 2-3 basil leaves, and a piece of lemon peel* in a shaker with ice.
- Shake for about 10-15 seconds or until you feel the shaker get ice cold.
- Double strain* the cocktail with a cocktail strainer and fine mesh strainer into a martini or coupe glass.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon and sprig of basil.
*The method of adding citrus peel to the shaker is called the Regal Shake, which will extract oils from the peel to make the cocktail more citrusy and aromatic.
*Double straining (also known as fine straining) ensures there aren't any specks of basil or ice in the final cocktail. To double strain it, you need a cocktail strainer, which comes included with most shakers, and a fine mesh strainer. Once the drink is shaken, use the cocktail strainer like you normally would, while also holding the fine mesh strainer above the serving glass. Then pour the cocktail through the cocktail strainer and mesh strainer into the glass.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g