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.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

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.

Buddha's Hand Cordial // HonestlyYUM

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.

Candied Citrus Peel // HonestlyYUM

To make the cocktail:

Pick 5 large Thai basil leaves. Set aside the top portion of the sprig (the flower) for garnish.

Thai Basil // HonestlyYUM

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.

Thai Basil // HonestlyYUM

Next, add the lemon juice, sparkling water, candied lemon peel, and Buddha’s hand cordial to your shaker.

Lemons // HonestlyYUM

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.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

Pour the entire contents of your shaker into a tall glass.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

The strips of Thai basil and lemon peel should disperse throughout the drink, clinging to the ice.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

If they clump together, feel free to use a barspoon to spread the strips throughout the glass.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

Garnish with a Thai basil flower.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

The aroma of the basil will coat your senses as you sip.

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

Honestly, can I have another?

Buddha's Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail // HonestlyYUM

(images by HonestlyYUM)