Pairing food + cocktails is not as easy as wine, but it can be done! Just as acidity + flavor profiles in wines match with certain dishes, so too can cocktails’. Take for instance a creamy vegetable flatbread with squash, squash blossoms, tomatoes, parmesan + basil. Instead of pairing a contrasting flavors, which can be more tricky, I tried to keep a similar profile with the drink. A Cucumber Basil Gimlet with gin goes really well with similar flavors + a brightness from lime juice helps cut through the creaminess the flatbread has. The flatbread recipe is from my friend Amanda Frederickson who I turn to when ever I need some recipes of food inspiration (you can find a cocktail inspired by one of her desserts here!) I used a slightly floral gin, like Hendricks, to go with the squash blossoms. There is basil in both so that created a harmony among the two. Cucumber add a vegetal note that mimicked that of the squash. Et voila, a delicious food + cocktail pairing to serve at a party or a date night home! I hope you take a whirl at pairing cocktails to food!
I am looking to create more cocktail + food pairings soon. What would you like to see here?!
CUCUMBER BASIL GIMLET
makes 2 drinks
- 4 oz floral gin
- 1 oz fresh strained lime juice
- 18 basil leaves
- 1 cup cucumber, chopped
- 1 oz simple syrup
Tools: blender, knife, hawthorn strainer, tea strainer, cocktail pick
Add first 3 ingredients into a Vitamix* or other blender. Blend low to incorporate + than blend on high. Add the cucumber + syrup and blend. Strain with a fine mesh strainer into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake + strain into a coupe. Garnish with cucumber ribbon + basil leaf.
*This Gimlet uses something called blender muddling, via Dave Arnold of Liquid Intelligence (only the best nerdy science cocktail book around!) + is perfect for preserving the brightness of herbs like basil.
Can I just say that I am obsessed with this drink? Basil and cucumber are my jam, but gin is my favorite liquor…so basically it’s a match made in heaven over here. I will be making this weekend! Also I love that you’re tackling the cocktail and food pairing challenge. I always find it difficult to drink anything other than wine or the occasional beer with my food unless it’s something like popcorn. Am very interested in your match-ups!
It is suuuuch a refreshing drink, making it again tonight to use up some basil. Glad you are into the food pairings! While I love a glass of wine with dinner, sometimes I want a cocktail so I figured I’d start trying to pair those. Doing lots of testing for science 😉
Thank you for this. I love a garden gimlet, herb simple syrup etc. We play cards with friends every Monday night and I was looking for something to pair with the garden gimlet and found this. Monday nights are meant to be simple, quick and easy so we can play cards. Do you have any other food pairings for these, I might stick with a Flatbread, but just wondering about something else. Thanks Jessica
If you want something healthier, maybe a salad using some of the toppings from the flatbread (tomatoes, basil) and top with a protein like chicken or fish. I think an herb crusted chicken breasts with a citrus marinade would also be delicious with the Gimlet. I hope you enjoy, Jessica!