This is one of those ideas that sounded really good when I read about it… and then the sample bottles arrived and they just sat there. Basil flavored vodka? Really? What the heck is that all about?
Square One makes a surprisingly good cucumber vodka, but cukes have a long tradition in cocktailing, dating back (at least) to the Pimm’s Cup. Basil, not so much. I smell basil and I want a pizza, not a drink.
Square One Basil is more of a Thai experience than an Italian one, and indeed it uses four basil varieties — Genovese, Thai, Lemon, and Sweet — in the mix. The impact is striking: Like a Southeast Asian curry, it offers sweet and spicy notes, with a distinct lemongrass character on the nose. The body is lightly peppery and offers clear, well, basil notes. It’s a bit like drinking a liquified, boozed-up pad gra pow gai. And by that I mean it’s better than you’re probably thinking.
Cocktails? Why not. Try it with things that use ginger, coconut, pineapple, and other eastern fruits and essences and see what happens.