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Categories : beverages, Recipes

Capture the essence of summer in a bottle, with this very different and deliciously fragrant basil liqueur.

I looked up the word liqueur just to make sure it had the same meaning in English that it has in Greek (it’s almost the same word). And according to Wikipedia “A liqueur is an alcoholic beverage made from a distilled spirit that has been flavoured with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, flowers or nuts and bottled with added sugar or other sweetener.” This is exactly that. Vodka flavoured with basil, and then mixed with simple syrup.

I first saw a recipe for basil liqueur quite a while ago, on my friend Artemis’ blog Wonderfoodland. I immediately wanted to give it a go, but I didn’t have any basil plants at the time. Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, and my neighbour is knocking on my door with a huge bunch of basil. Too much to use as a herb, but I really couldn’t be bothered to make pesto. I was going through a particularly lazy faze, and remembered the basil liqueur recipe. I looked it up (to see if it could be made while lying on the sofa) and it had lemon in it. Going to buy lemons required too much effort (get dressed, drive three minutes, pay, drive back… you know) and it was seriously hot outside, so I went with a version of my own. In the end I did have to stand up but only for a few minutes.

Now if you see the photos for both recipes you might notice a slight (!) difference in colour. This is due to the –way- larger amount of basil I used in mine. It’s a dark brown, rather unappealing colour, rather than a fresh light green one. It’s strong. I don’t mind that though, since I think I will be using mine for weird and wonderful experiments, more as an extract than as a drink. Why? Well, I’m not a big liqueur person. Why on earth did I even make this? I was curious. Why am I posting it? Well, you might be a big liqueur person, in which case you should definitely try it. Also, I think I will be using this stuff in some recipes down the line; I have a feeling it will work in both cooking and baking. So I recommend making a batch, maybe a smaller one than I did, and keeping it for future use. It won’t go off anytime soon. I keep it next to my vanilla extract and I’m already wondering what else I could turn into a flavourful liqueur-y type extract.


120 gr basil (I used winter basil, with the wide leaves, with some of the thinner stalks on)

750 ml vodka

1 litre water

700 gr sugar

Step 1

Put the basil in a wide mouthed jar (mine is 1lt capacity) and press it down to fit. Add the vodka and press down again so the basil is submerged. Close the lid and store in a shady spot for at least a week. I kept mine for 2 weeks and it is very strong tasting, so adjust as preferred. Next time I would leave it for 10 days max. Give it a shake once a day or every 2 days.

Step 2

When the time is up make the syrup. Heat the water and sugar in a pan over medium heat, until the sugar has melted.

Step 3

Strain the basil extract into the syrup, bottle it, shake to mix it, and store the liqueur in a shady place.

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