- 1½ oz Square One Botanical
- generous ¾ oz simple syrup (1:1)
- ¾ oz lime
- 2 leaves basil
- generous handful fennel fronds
- 1 dash fee's cherry bitters
- 2 oz club soda
As opposed to some of my other creations where I came up with a name and then made of a cocktail to match, this cocktail was inspired by an idea for a cool garnish, specifically the flowering basil plant in our herb garden. Apparently you are supposed to prune flowers from herbs in any case so the plants continue to direct their energy into leaves and their essential oils rather than going to seed, so this tactic was doubly good.
Wanting to add a bit more, I set my gaze upon the nearby fennel plant and it's copious fronds. I figured their fresh hint of anise would add to the complexity of the drink. With the base idea set, I turned to our simple minty friend the Mojito as a reference.
Using this recipe as the base, I swapped my two herbs for the mint and swapped out the rum. I originally crafted the drink using Bulldog Gin, which is light on the juniper and floral like the Botanical. It worked very well, and would have been happy to use it in the drink, but when the theme of TDN was announced I figured the Botanical would work very nicely as well, and it did. So if you can't get Square One products, or you just want a hint of juniper, I certainly encourage you to try a gin like Bulldog which is light on the juniper. A harsher gin I think would wash out the subtle fennel fronds.
Even though bitters are optionally called for in the Mojito, I initially wasn't going to use them here, but for a happy accident. When I was playing with the recipe I found I was without the soda, so I used some pretty bad cherry flavored seltzer I had lying around. Trying it with this I thought the cherry flavor might work well when made properly with club soda, thus the cherry bitters addition.