Tangerine Basil Cocktail

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We recently made a batch of basil infused simple syrup after having a bunch of left over basil after a night of Italian cooking. We love using herb infused syrups to layer in flavor and sweetness, and when we can we use the fresh herbs from our garden to make really delicious syrups. By making these syrups, we can keep those fresh flavors of summer all thru the cold months! We had a pair of tangerines that we had planned on using for a cocktail, and with this great herbal basil syrup in hand, we decided to pair the two up with a great rich bourbon to make a very great sipping cocktail.

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We used the 100 proof Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon, the higher proof helping to temper the sweetness of the citrus and basil syrup. The Knob Creek Small Batch has a nice toasty oak and nuttiness and hints of spice similar to a rye whiskey really pops with the brightness of the tangerine.  We think this cocktail would do really well with a spicy rye whiskey as well should you not have the Knob Creek.


The bright citrus of the tangerine is sweet and tangy, the acid of the helping to pull out warm notes of chocolate and vanilla from the bourbon. The basil syrup adds a herbal freshness that refreshes your palate. We recommend garnishing the drink with a peel of tangerine, first expressing the oils from the skin into the glass, then wiping the rim of the glass with the peel. This will perfume the glass and cocktail with tangerine oil, making the Tangerine Basil a full sensory experience. Perfect for sipping on the porch on a warm spring afternoon, we hope you will give it a try! Cheers!

Tangerine Basil Cocktail



Tangerine Basil Cocktail


    Tangerine Basil
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed tangerine juice
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz basil simple syrup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • dash of orange bitters
  • Basil Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup packed whole basil leaves


    For the Cocktail:
  1. Muddle sugar with juice, bitters and basil syrup until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Mix in bourbon.
  3. Pour into rocks glass over ice.
  4. Garnish with tangerine peel or basil leaves.
  5. For the Basil Simple Syrup:
  6. Place the sugar and water into a small sauce pan.
  7. Bring the water to a boil and ensure all the sugar is dissolved.
  8. Pull off of the heat and steep the basil leaves in the water for 15-30 minutes or until cool.
  9. Strain into a clean glass jar and refrigerate.
  10. If you want to extend the life a bit, add a splash of vodka or Everclear to the syrup to help preserve it.

Need some cool tools to help make this cocktail? Check out these cool options! (Note these are affiliate links that will take you from our page!)

Orange Standing Manual Citrus Juicer
If you are serious about juicing your citrus quickly, this stand juicer is a great way to squeeze out a bunch of juice. We use this when we are prepping for our cocktail parties!
Lemon Squeezer
Not ready to make the full commitment to a stand juicer? This works great for juicing citrus for those nights where you are only making one or two cocktails.
Square and Spherical Ice Tray Sets - 1 Tray (2.5
We like using giant ice cubes on our drinks as they look cool, melt slower than regular ice cubes due to the size and prevent your drink getting watered down. These molds let you make big ice cubes at home in your freezer!


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30 thoughts on “Tangerine Basil Cocktail

  1. I was invited to a dinner party by a foodie. Last time I was there, I forgot a cruet of simple syrup. She made me some basil simple syrup and gave me a cocktail challenge. It’s on!!!

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