White rum combined with the juice of half a lemon and muddled lemon basil makes for a drink that’s sure to please everyone: not too sweet and not too strong, it’s a perfect beginning for any summer night. If you don’t have lemon basil, a fragrant herb often used in Indonesian cookery, substitute conventional basil and a few drops of lemon oil.
FOR THE LEMON BASIL SIMPLE SYRUP:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup loosely packed lemon basil
FOR THE COCKTAIL:
- 3-4 leaves lemon basil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1⁄2 oz. white rum
- 1 oz. fresh lemon juice (the juice of one lemon)
- 1⁄2 oz. lemon basil simple syrup
- Make the syrup: Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan with basil until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, and then set to the side to cool. Strain out the basil and refrigerate. Yields one cup; reserve any unused portion in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
- Make the cocktail: In a Collins glass, muddle the lemon zest and basil. Fill with crushed ice. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake together rum, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Strain into Collins glass and garnish with a sliver of lemon.