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Basil and Booze: The Perfect Summer Combo

Bartenders have been playing around with fresh herbs lately, so I decided to try my hand at it, using basil from my parents garden up in Sonoma, the handle of a wooden spoon as my muddler and some citron vodka as a start. From there, I looked for inspiration on Hangar One’s website, where they have a whole bevy of good cocktail recipes. My final—very popular, I might add—concoction was based on SF bartender David Nepove’s recipe called The Retreat. The only difference is that I only swirled each glass with a good dash of Pernod (the anise-flavor of Pernod perfectly reflects the basil), rather than go for a full ounce. I also added a bit of cointreau to the shaker. If you serve it on the rocks, top with club soda as Nepove does. Or strain it into a martini glass and skip the soda. Both variations are delicious. Refreshing. Dangerously easy to drink. Sunshine in a glass.

THE RETREAT
Courtesy of Hangar One and bartender David Nepove

1 ounce Pernod
1 ½ ounces Hanger One Buddha's Hand Citron vodka
5 basil leaves
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup
1 ounce club soda

Muddle lemon, simple syrup and basil in a mixing glass. Add ice, Pernod and vodka. Shake and strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda Garnish with a basil sprig and a lemon twist.