Last week Grizzly and I experimented with Buddha’s hand. Well, one of us experimented, while the other ripped the citron to shreds . . . and slobbered a lot while doing so, I might add. Despite lacking any juice, I knew the Buddha’s hand was destined for a happy hour cocktail (look who you’re talking to here). Specifically, I wanted a cocktail that would accentuate the incredible aromatics of the Buddha’s hand itself. I immediately thought herbs. Herbs and citrus are such a natural pairing. At the market I picked up some mint, lemon thyme, and rosemary, but eventually settled on Thai basil. If you’ve never tried Thai basil, you’re missing out. It has a lovely hint of licorice and striking purple stems and flowers. The other real star of this drink is the sherry. Manzanilla sherry is delicate and dry, but also offers a saltiness that perfectly ties together all the intricate flavors in the cocktail. I’m so happy with the result – a truly beautiful cocktail, both inside and out. I hope you enjoy drinking it as much as I did creating it.
- 1 oz Hangar One Buddha’s hand vodka
- 1 1/2 oz Manzanilla sherry
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Buddha’s hand cordial
- 1/2 oz sparkling water
- 5 large Thai basil leaves
- 5 strips of candied lemon peel
- Thai basil flower for garnish
Buddha’s Hand Cordial:
- 2 tablespoons Buddha’s hand zest (~1 medium Buddha’s hand)
- 1/2 cup simple syrup
Candied Lemon Peel:
- 2 lemons
- 6 oz simple syrup (~ 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water)
To make the Buddha’s hand cordial:
Soak the Buddha’s hand zest in the simple syrup for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the zest. Set aside.
To make the candied lemon peel:
Use a vegetable peeler to cut strips of lemon peel from top to bottom. Try to remove as little of the white pith as possible. Cut the peel into narrower strips, approximately 1/4-inch wide. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring your simple syrup to a simmer. Add the strips of lemon peel and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Your candied lemon peel is all done, and can be stored in the simple syrup until you are ready to use.
To make the cocktail:
Pick 5 large Thai basil leaves. Set aside the top portion of the sprig (the flower) for garnish.
Stack the leaves on top of each other and use a sharp knife to chiffonade into 1/4-inch strips. This will help to release the basil’s natural oils. Add the strips to the bottom of your shaker.
Next, add the lemon juice, sparkling water, candied lemon peel, and Buddha’s hand cordial to your shaker.
Finally, add the vodka and the sherry. Briefly stir the ingredients together to incorporate. Add ice and give a quick shake for just a few seconds.
Pour the entire contents of your shaker into a tall glass.
The strips of Thai basil and lemon peel should disperse throughout the drink, clinging to the ice.
If they clump together, feel free to use a barspoon to spread the strips throughout the glass.
Garnish with a Thai basil flower.
The aroma of the basil will coat your senses as you sip.
Honestly, can I have another?
(images by HonestlyYUM)