Throw a rock and you’ll hit a $14 craft cocktail. Today’s happy drinker can sip obscure concoctions while choosing from a litany of artisanal spirits at almost any bar. But, what about the just-as-delicious cocktail cocktail for the everperson? Where’s the weeknight drink made with easy to find ingredients? I won’t be coy about my equal opportunity approach to the drink. Everything (or drink) has its place, but lately, I find myself returning over and over again to this blackberry basil margarita for three reasons. Anyone can make it, it feels complex without being complicated, and its sheer drinkability.
Oh, and, this margarita gets one additional upgrade with basil salt. The salt gives this drink a subtle jade hue and adds an extra pop of basil. For a little extra visual appeal, coat the side of the glass with salt instead of the rim.
So, let’s break out the cocktail shaker and Don Draper this!
The trouble with muddle — why bother?
If there’s just something about smashing fruit and herbs into booze that feels special, it’s because there is. The act of muddling is more than just crushing the basil and blackberries. It releases all of those concentrated essential oils so they can infuse the tequila into this blackberry basil margarita.
If you don’t have muddler, just use any blunt instructure you can muster up. Rolling pins and wooden spoons work just as well. But, if you’re in the market for one, here’s my favorite.
The strain of straining — should you strain your cocktail?
Shaken cocktails are typically strained to remove unwanted particles of ice, herbs or other unwanted ingredients. Ice particles will dilute the drink faster than fresh ice and those blackberry seeds are prone to stick in teeth. Plus, the blackberries and basil have done their job. They are infused into drink and can be unceremoniously thrown away (or put on yogurt!) before pouring your beautifully mixed margarita into a clean glass adorned in basil salt.
Blackberry Basil Margarita with Basil Salt
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup kosher salt
Blackberry Basil Margarita
- 5 blackberries
- 4 fresh basil leaves
- 1 ½ oz 100% blue agave blanco tequila
- ¼ oz agave nectar
- ¾ oz Cointreau or triple Sec
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- basil salt
- lime wedge and blackberry (for garnish)
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse salt and basil until combined. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and let dry at room temperature or a very low heated oven. Store in an airtight container up to 4 months.
Blackberry Basil Margarita
- For the salt rim, pour some salt onto a small plate. Run the flesh side of the lime along the rim of a double rocks glass then carefully roll the rim through the salt to coat. Alternatively, coat one side of the glass.
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries and basil. Add the tequila, agave, Cointreau (or triple sec), and lime juice and shake with a few pieces of ice until well chilled. Strain into the rimmed double rocks glass and top with more ice.
- Garnish with the lime wedge and blackberry.
- Up to 4 months ahead: Make and dry the basil salt. Store in an airtight container.