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"The Grand Pepino" Cocktail

​In my house, it's the best time of the year. Baseball season. It's the time of year when the TV is tuned to MASN and SportsCenter almost 24/7. It's the time of year when we cheer on the Orioles, and shout "O" in the National Anthem a little louder than usual.

It's also time to break out the easy-drinking Spring cocktails. And this year, I'm having a lot more fun than usual. Last fall, I infused liquor with fruits and herbs, and the flavor was really strong. But it's mellowed, and now they're perfect.

In this cocktail, I used a homemade basil-cucumber-infused gin. The beauty of infusing your own liquor is that you can play around with flavor combinations and flavor profiles. Thanks to The Flavor Bible, I have an endless supply of flavor creativity (seriously, this book is legit!).

For the purpose of this recipe, a quick infusion is your best bet (recipe below).


1.5-2 oz Basil-Cucumber Gin

3 Slices of Cucumber

1/4 oz Simple Syrup

Topo Chico

You'll also need some at-home bar tools: shaker set, & muddler

1. Muddle 2 slices of cucumber with simple syrup in small shaker, top with ice

2. Pour 1.5 ounces of Basil-Cucumber gin over ice (add 2 oz for an extra kick)

3. Cover small shaker with larger shaker, shake until the small shaker is frosted

4. Pour into a Collins Glass

5. Top with Topo Chico and garnish with a cucumber slice

Because it's baseball season and I'm still excited about finding Topo Chico, I gave this cocktail a bit of a pun-y name: The Grand Bambino mixed with Spanish for cucumber, pepino. Thus, The Grand Pepino.

How To: Basil-Cucumber Gin

750mL unflavored gin

12 Fresh Basil Leaves

1/2 Large Cucumber

Glass Bottle with Cap

Funnel (for no-mess pouring)

It's truly as simple as it seems. Remove basil leaves from stem, place in bottle. Slice the cucumber small enough to fit through the mouth of the bottle. Using a funnel, pour gin into container, leaving 3-4" at the top. Seal the bottle and give the bottle a shake to mix up ingredients.

Basil has a lot of delicate flavor and aroma compounds that will intensify briefly when the basil is first infused, but then break down if the basil remains in the alcohol longer. So if you prefer a strong kick of basil, add it a few hours before planning on serving. For a more mellow basil flavor, add it immediately and remove it before serving.


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