I was looking for a drink that captured the essence of the summer season, which to me is emblematic of the flavors of cucumber, basil, tomatoes, and squash. Leaving the tomatoes and squash out of my repertoire (for now!), I worked this one up. This particular emphasizes the basil in more balance with the cucumber. For a variation that gives cucumber the bigger play, see the Cucumber Summer Garden recipe.
2 oz Tanqueray gin
1 oz Thatcher's cucumber liqueur
.75 oz lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup
2 - 3 basil leaves
basil leaf garnish
In a mixing glass or stainless steel cup, put in the basil leaves and the simple syrup. Muddle well. Add the lime juice, cucumber liqueur, and gin. Fill glass with ice, cover with shaker, and shake vigorously.
Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the basil leaf. Improve the release of the basil leaf oils by rubbing it or "spanking" it between the palms of your hands before adding to the drink.