The Vietnamese Basil Daiquiri is a blatant rip off of Dave Arnold’s masterpiece the Thai Basil Daiquiri, developed for his New York bar, Booker and Dax, but we’re hardly going to be using that Thai stuff around here, eh? It’s a relatively simple drink (if you happen to have liquid nitrogen knocking around your house) but is just so fresh, intensely herbacious and tasty that it packs a punch well above it’s weight class.
The problem with using delicate herbs like basil in cocktails is the tendency for them to oxidise during the muddling process, leaving you with bruised, blackened vegetation floating in a foul smelling swamp. Mmmmmm!
This technique eliminates that issue entirely. The fresh basil is frozen solid using the liquid nitrogen and then ground into a fine dust with a muddler. Before it has the chance to thaw out and oxidise you hit it with a good shot of white rum (Flor de Cana Extra Dry does it for me) which thaws the herb but protects it from oxidising. The addition of lime juice (another antioxidant) takes the pressure off and then all you have to do is add simple syrup and continue as though you were making a regular daiquiri.
Double strain to get rid of any larger bits of herb you may have missed in the grinding process and marvel at the bright green, deliciously aromatic Vietnamese Basil Daiquiri that you have just produced.
You can find the full recipe in Dave’s fantastic book, Liquid Intelligence.
Of course, you can use the principles employed here to do any number of variations of herb heavy libations. One of my favourites is the ultimate mint julep where you nitro-muddle your mint, whack in the bourbon, strain into a double rocks glass which is then filled with shaved ice and topped off with a generous helping of smoked maple syrup and a mint garnish. Booyah!