It’s no secret we like a good happy hour in this household! So when I saw a pair of beautiful martini glasses in the box of kitchen products to use and review for AOL Lifestyle’s 2016 Food Awards, I gave a little cheer. And I knew just the drink to make!
Recently, John and I have been making an effort to go on a date once per week. It’s really nice to have a reason to put on real clothes and makeup, go be amongst other adults, and reconnect with my hubby after singing nursery rhymes to Oden all day. On one of our date nights, we went to the bar at the Waldorf Astoria. We shared a beautiful cheese board, steak nachos, and cinnamon-dusted beignets while watching a football game. Perfect! And I enjoyed my cocktail immensely, which was a combination of pomegranate, lime, basil, and vodka served martini-style. I decided that night to try to replicate it someday, and what better opportunity than when I had two lovely martini glasses to fill?
I started by making a basil simple syrup to get that basil flavor into the martini and add some sweetness. It was so easy! I combined a half of a cup of water, half of a cup of sugar, and a big sprig of fresh basil in a small saucepan. I brought the mixture to a boil and stirred it while the sugar dissolved completely, then turned off the heat, popped the lid on it, and let it sit for 30 minutes. After a half an hour, I strained the basil out and was left with the infused syrup. I let it cool and popped it into the fridge until happy hour. (Side: How cute is that pumpkin silicone bowl cover? Another product from the box that I loved!)
When happy hour rolled around, I set up my ingredients at the bar. I learned from my years of being a cocktail waitress that it’s smart to chill your martini glasses first, so I filled them with ice and water and let them sit while I mixed the drinks.
I started by filling our martini shaker with ice, then used a jigger to measure 4 shots of good vodka. Next, I added an ounce and a half each of the basil simple syrup and pomegranate juice. Last, I squeezed in the juice from a small lime. That’s it!
I gave the shaker a shake-shake-shake, dumped the ice water out of the martini glasses, and poured our beautiful martinis. I garnished the glasses with a slice of lime, which ended up floating in the drinks. Aren’t they gorgeous?
Even though these drinks have sweetener and juice in them, remember that they are martinis- they’re strong! They are meant for sipping with a smile. The basil flavor is subtle but delicious, and the sweetness from the syrup balances out the tart lime and pomegranate juice perfectly. A good vodka is necessary because you can taste it. John agreed that these martinis were scrumptious- I think my version beat the Waldorf’s! Who’s thirsty?
Basil Pomegranate Lime Martinis
For 2 martinis, you’ll need:
- A cocktail shaker
- 2 martini glasses
- 4 ounces good vodka, such as Belvedere
- 1.5 ounces basil simple syrup* (recipe follows)
- 1.5 ounces pomegranate juice*
- Juice of one small lime
- Lime slices for garnish
Fill the martini glasses with ice and water and set aside.
Fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Using a jigger, measure the vodka, basil syrup, and pomegranate juice into the shaker. Squeeze in the lime. Shake well. Dump the ice water from the martini glasses. Pour the martini through a strainer evenly between the two glasses and garnish with the lime slices. Cheers!
*If you prefer a less strong cocktail, increase the amount of the basil simple syrup and pomegranate juice to 2 ounces each and serve in a highball glass over ice.
Basil Simple Syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 bunch basil
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved completely, then remove from heat. Allow to steep for 30 minutes, then strain the basil leaves out and use in your tasty basil pomegranate lime martinis. Cheers!
More about the AOL 2016 Food Awards.