On a recent episode of the America’s Test Kitchen podcast the host interviewed the author of The Drunken Botanist, a book about all the different ways plants, flowers, fruits, and herbs have been incorporated into alcoholic drinks. Basil was mentioned in particular, so I started to think about what sorts of interesting drinks I could make from my own overgrown basil plant.
Strawberry and basil is one of those combinations that I saw once in a cookbook (gazpacho shooters in The Inspired Vegan) and then started noticing it popping up all over the place, like in cocktails, lemonade, tarts, and preserves. I don’t know if it’s trendy right now or if I’m just more alert, but it sounded sounded cool and refreshing, which is perfect since it’s super crazy hot here right now!! I opted for a smoothie since it was a bit too early to get boozy and I had a lot of soy yogurt in the fridge.
I don’t really have a recipe, I just kind of threw together yogurt, fresh strawberries, basil, frozen pineapple chunks (for bulk), a few ice cubes, and some maple syrup. I made separate basil and strawberry smoothies because I didn’t want the end product be be an ugly brown! They sort of layered ok but the strawberry mix was much denser than the basil mix so it didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.
I really enjoyed this smoothie but Mr. HVC….not so much! I relied mostly on the natural sweetness of the strawberries because a super sweet basil smoothie didn’t sound very appealing! I think the tartness of the yogurt also helped out a lot. I loved the flavor but I think it’s one of those things that you might not want to try if you’re less adventurous. It took me a while to get over the expectation that basil is only good in savory applications! It was super cool and refreshing though, which was exactly what I needed on a 90 °F morning!
Oh, I almost forgot! I have been trying to expand my basil garden by rooting some cuttings and it worked! Super happy! It looks pretty cool so I thought I’d share: