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This refreshing basil cocktail is a summery spin on the Tom Collins! It’s tart and bubbly, with fresh herbs and cucumber. 

Cucumber basil cocktail

Here’s a deliciously bubbly drink that’s calling your name (and ours too): the Basil Collins! This basil cocktail is a summer spin on the Tom Collins, featuring cucumber and that peppery fresh herb you might be growing in a pot or your garden. It’s got a tangy sweet flavor, a cucumber basil essence and a load of bubbles packed in that glass. Add some jingling ice cubes, and it’s a drink fit for flip flops and summer evenings.

Ingredients in this basil cocktail

This basil cocktail is a spin on a drink that makes our list of top greatest cocktails of all time: the Tom Collins! The first recipe for a Tom Collins was published in 1876. How’s that for historical? It’s stood the test of time and makes the list of the International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning it has an official definition. This summer spin just adds cucumber and fresh basil. Here’s what you’ll need to make a Basil Collins:

How to store fresh basil

Tips for muddling basil

This basil cocktail is perfect for summer, when you’ve got a prolific basil plant. What drink to make with basil? The Basil Collins! The main skill you’ll need for any cocktail that uses fresh herbs is called muddling. What is it?

  • Muddling is gently mashing herbs to release their juices, which helps the flavors incorporate into drinks. 
  • The key with muddling basil is a gentle touch. Don’t mash it to a pulp! Instead, gently tap it to release its oils.
  • Use a cocktail muddler or wooden spoon. Here’s the cocktail muddler we have.

Once you add the cucumber slices, you can muddle with a little more force. You’ll want to extract some of the cucumber juice, so you can give it a little more elbow grease.

How to make this cucumber basil cocktail: basic steps

This basil cocktail is simple to make: the hardest part is muddling the fresh ingredients! After that, it’s just a matter of shaking and straining. Here are the basic steps, or jump to the recipe below.

  1. Muddle the basil and cucumber in the cocktail shaker. See above!
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and ice, and shake! Add the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup and shake it together in a cocktail shaker with 1 handful ice.
  3. Strain into a glass and top off with soda water. Strain the drink into a glass with ice cubes, then top with club soda. If you can, use clear ice! It’s crystal clear instead of cloudy like normal ice, and makes the drink look like it’s from a fancy bar.
  4. Garnish! This is what makes the drink! Add a few cucumber and basil slices.
Basil cocktail

More basil cocktails

It’s not just for pesto. There are lots of ways to use this peppery fresh herb in cocktails! Here are our top ways to make basil cocktails:

When to serve a basil cocktail

This basil cocktail is great for summer: or anytime you have a bushy herb plant that needs a use! Here are a few ideas:

  • Summer drink
  • Pool party or lake house drink
  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Cucumber basil cocktail

Basil “Collins” Cocktail

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


This refreshing basil cocktail is a summery spin on the Tom Collins! It’s tart and bubbly, with fresh herbs and cucumber.


  • 6 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 4 slices cucumber, cut 1/8″ thick, plus more for garnish
  • 2 ounces* gin
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • 2 ounces soda water
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the basil leaves. Add the cucumber slices and muddle again.
  2. Add the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice and fill the shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds until cold.
  3. Strain the drink into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with soda water and garnish with additional cucumber slices and basil.


*To convert to ounces, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Basil cocktail, cucumber basil cocktail, lemon basil cocktail

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you’ll want to make again and again.

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  1. I had one of these last night at an event and it was lovely. I have to host something for about 50 in 10 days and I wanted to offer 2 cocktails and 2 mocktails. This is definitely on the list!
    My question: any thoughts on how to serve this without a bartender? In other words, can I make a batch for 25-30 people. Have it in a pitcher, along with cucumber slices and basil leaves for them to help themselves? Do you think this would work?
    With thanks,

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I wouldn’t mix a full batch ahead because the soda water would lose it’s fizz. You could make a batch of the main ingredients in a pitcher and have people do equal parts mix and soda water (it would be slightly more watered down but still taste great).