Buddha’s Hand and Thai Basil Cocktail

January 17, 2014

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


  • 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)


How do you think this would play with Amontillado Sherry (or Oloroso), instead of Manzanilla?

how beautiful! I so agree re: thai basil. I’m experimenting with a shredded jicama salad right now, with blood oranges and (what else?) thai basil =)

St. George Spirits, the company that makes Hangar One, also makes a Thai basil infused brandy called the Aqua Perfecta Basil Eau-de-Vie. It can be hard to find, but it’s perfect for adding a basil splash when you don’t have any fresh basil on hand (or you’re too lazy to muddle, like me).

How did I not know that?! That would have been perfect for this! Gonna check it out. Thanks EF.

Todd, this is just so gorgeous. I love Thai basil, I imagine it’s the perfect complement to the Bhudda’s hand. I’m thirsty!

Aw, thanks Sophie! I hadn’t experimente too much with Thai basil, but you’re right, it was the perfect pairing for the Buddha’s hand.

This is one of most stunning cocktails I’ve ever seen! Now I’m officially on a mission to procure a Buddha’s Hand for myself!

This sounds heavenly! I’ve never tried basil in a cocktail, but I think I need to change that!

My goodness, that is a gorgeous cocktail. Looks like I will be going to the store later. Thank you for once again introducing me to a tasty treat and a reason to candy some citrus.

Thanks for the kind words Brian. Hope you had a chance to do some cocktail-ing in all that snow!!

Holy Hannah yes. This is gorgeous! I’m a big fan of Thai Basil in cocktails. I’ve never tried Buddha’s Hand but this is making me crave it nonetheless. Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, Rachael. Sorry for the late response. At least it’s Friday again 😛 Holy Hannah indeed!!

….(sigh)….here it is, early morning (6:30am) and I’m soooo craving one of these beauties. What a gorgeous looking drink. I really COULD use one right now!

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