This Strawberry Basil Vodka Cocktail is amazingly simple to prepare and the perfect refreshing sip for summer! Filled with fresh strawberries, sweet basil, crisp lemon-lime flavored soda and subtle vodka, this fruity cocktail is ideal for relaxing or entertaining! Bonus, it can pull double duty and easily transform into a mocktail!
Updated: This post was originally published in May 2017. I edited the photos and updated the post below to include more information about strawberry cocktails.
Hi, friends! Can you believe memorial day and the unofficial start of summer is only four days away?! Four!! As in just 96 hours! Or, merely 5,760 minutes! I mean, whoa (<- said exactly like Joey Lawrence), right?
Winter seemed to go on for forever. And, spring has gone by in a flash. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – father time is a mystery. But, according to Madonna, I guess that’s just life in general.
I just hope summer decides to mimic winter and stay for a while! I’d like to savor every last drop of summer and bask in all of its warmth and glory! Plus, I’d like to enjoy a beach vacation, summer barbecues on repeat and ALL the fruity, fresh cocktails life has to offer! Because, you simply can’t do summer without a refreshing cocktail… or three!
Strawberry Basil Vodka Cocktail
The liquid embodiment of summer is happening right here!
This strawberry mixed drink is sweet, tart, herbaceous, fruit forward and packed with fresh flavors! With prominent notes of juicy strawberries and aromatic basil; an effervescent touch of soda, a splash of boozy vodka, plus a sweet sugar-coated rim, this cocktail is a smooth sipper! It’s incredibly refreshing and perfect for relaxing or serving at summer soirées, pool parties, picnics and barbecues!
Want to win at life and get the party started this summer!? Skip the stress and craft a big batch! Pour it into a pitcher, grab a few straws, and toast to summer in sassy strawberry spritzer style, my friends!
What is a strawberry cocktail?
A strawberry cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink, which relies heavily on strawberries for a fruit forward taste. A fruit cocktail can include one or more spirits mixed with either fresh muddled strawberries, strawberry syrup, strawberry liqueur, or all three! Strawberry cocktails can be served on ice or frozen as a margarita. They can also include a fresh garnish, such as basil or limes.
While there’s a vast variety of strawberry cocktails, they all rely on the flavor of fresh or frozen strawberries!
Which vodka is best for mixing cocktails?
You are definitely not alone if you have ordered a cocktail and been unsure of which brand of vodka to select! It can be intimidating and difficult to choose the best brand of alcohol for mixed drinks.
Despite its reputation as being neutral in flavor, vodka actually has a wide range of flavor profiles and aromas. Different brands are in fact better suited for different cocktails.
For fruity, juicy cocktails you should opt for a brand that has a smooth and slightly dry taste to balance out the sweetness of the strawberries. However, there is no need to break the bank and buy an expensive brand. The vodka taste will mostly be hidden in the sweet-fruity taste of the cocktail. Just make sure you select a quality brand with an easy-drinking taste if you decide to go the budget-friendly route!
Vodkas to try with fruity cocktails:
- Tito’s Handmade Vodka: Tito’s is made in Texas and has a cult-like following. It’s easy to drink and economical in price.
- Smirnoff: American made Smirnoff has an ultra smooth mouthfeel and bright taste. It blends seamlessly with fruit-forward mixed drinks!
- Ketel One: Ketel One has a citrus-forward flavor with a neutral, dry finish. It offers the perfect balance and is a delicious match for sweet-tart cocktails!
- Crop Cucumber Organic Vodka: If you are looking for something different, cooling cucumber flavored vodka is a delicious option!
How much vodka do I need for a cocktail?
When preparing a cocktail at home you should aim for a harmonious blend of flavors. With that said, you should also make the cocktail to your specific taste!
The Golden Ratio mixologists use to create cocktails is simple, it’s 2:1:1.
- 2 parts spirit (vodka, rum, tequila or gin in this case)
- 1 part sweet (strawberry syrup)
- 1 part tart (lemon-lime soda)
However, this strawberry cocktail recipe uses equal parts of all three components to craft a cocktail that is much smoother to sip. If you want a cocktail that celebrates its booziness, by all means, double the amount of vodka or halve the amount of syrup and soda!
What can I use instead of vodka?
Not a fan of vodka and need a good alternative? Below are four good substitutes for vodka in mixed drinks.
- White Rum: White rum is light-bodied with a slightly sweet taste. It is more subtle and better suited for fruity mixed drinks than dark rum.
- Blanco Tequila: Also called silver or white tequila, Blanco tequila is characterized by its clear appearance. It is typically agave-forward, with notes of citrus and pepper. For the best taste, look for a 100% agave tequila.
- Aquavit: Produced in Scandinavian countries, aquavit is a flavoured, distilled spirit that is dry in flavor. While there are various aromatic flavours used in production, look for ones with lemon or orange peel as opposed to fennel and anise, or caraway and cumin.
- Gin: While the botanicals of gin can add an extra layer of complexity to drinks, they don’t mix well with fruity libations. Select a brand of gin that is citrus-heavy such as Roku or Amalfi which will create a cocktail with lots of zing!
How to mix a vodka cocktail?
It can be tough to know when to shake versus when to stir a cocktail. A general rule of thumb is that you shake a cocktail if there is something other than alcohol in the drink. Essentially, you shake a cocktail whenever you need to ensure that every ingredient is fully incorporated into the cocktail.
Cocktails to shake:
- Cocktails made with citrus, fruit juices, simple syrup and sour mix
- Mixed drinks made with cream, cream liqueurs, eggs or other dairy products
Cocktails to stir:
- Cocktails made entirely of spirits, including bitters
- Libations made with soda, tonic or sparkling wine
Since this strawberry cocktail recipe contains both fruit juice and soda, it will be shaken first and then topped off with soda. Do not attempt to add the effervescent soda to the shaker and then proceed to shake. You will end up with a flat cocktail at best, or an exploding shaker at worst.
How to shake a strawberry cocktail:
- Add cocktail ingredients first. Add the cocktail ingredients to the shaker and then fill it halfway to the top with ice.
- Use large ice. The larger and denser the ice cube, the better. Smaller ice cubes, such as crushed or chipped ice, will dilute faster, resulting in a watered down drink.
- Shake until the shaker is cold to the touch. Forget about any fancy techniques. You only need to vigorously shake the cocktail long enough to chill, aerate and slightly dilute the drink. A good rule of thumb is to shake for 10 seconds, or until the shaker begins to frost and is cold to the touch.
- Add soda last. Shake the primary vodka cocktail ingredients first, and then add the soda.
- Strain the cocktail. After adding the soda, immediately strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice.
Can I turn this into a strawberry mocktail?
Absolutely! To make it a mocktail, add extra strawberry syrup and lemon-lime soda to replace the vodka!
Can I use frozen strawberries for a cocktail?
If berries are in season, I highly recommend using fresh strawberries! However, you can also use (unsweetened) frozen strawberries. Place the frozen strawberries in a large bowl and thaw before pureeing.
Accomplish ALL your cocktail goals and add this Strawberry Vodka Cocktail to your summer libation rotation!
In light of Memorial Day, I will not be posting on Monday, so until next Thursday friends, cheers – to sipping on summer with a refreshing summer cocktail… or two!
More fruity cocktail recipes:
How to make a Strawberry Basil Vodka Cocktail at home 👇
Strawberry Basil Vodka Cocktail
- Fine-mesh Sieve (optional)
- Cocktail Shaker
- Cocktail Glass
Strawberry Syrup: (yield = about ½ cup or enough for 2 cocktails)
- ½ Pint Strawberries - hulled and sliced (about 6 large or 12 medium berries)
- 2-4 TBS Agave or Honey - or more to taste (SEE NOTES)
- 1 ounce Fresh Lime Juice
- 3 Basil Leaves
- 2 ounces Strawberry Syrup (1/4 cup) (SEE ABOVE)
- 2 ounces Vodka - or more or less to taste
- 2 ounces Lemon-Lime Soda or Club Soda - chilled, or more to taste
Optional Garnishes: Lime Wedges, Sliced Strawberries, Basil Leaves, Sugar for Rim
- Make the strawberry syrup: Combine the strawberries, agave and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Optional: Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds.
- Muddle the basil: In a cocktail glass, gently muddle basil leaves. Fill the glass with ice.
- Prepare the cocktail (SEE NOTES): In a cocktail shaker, pour in ¼ cup of the strawberry syrup. Add in the vodka. Fill the shaker half of way to the top with ice. Shake for about 10 seconds, or until the shaker begins to frost and is cool to the touch.
- Add soda & pour cocktail: Add the soda to the shaker. Strain the cocktail into the prepared cocktail glass.
- Serve: Garnish the glasses with strawberries, more basil leaves and lime wedges if desired. Enjoy!
- Strawberry Syrup: The strawberry syrup will yield enough for TWO cocktails. The recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. The syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Basil: If you want a more prominent basil flavor, add a large basil leaf to the blender with the strawberries when making the syrup.
- Sweetener: The amount of sweetener needed will depend on the ripeness of your strawberries and personal preference. Taste your strawberries, if they are sweet, start with only 2 tablespoons of agave. If your strawberries are bland, start with 3-4 tablespoons. Blend the syrup and then taste it. If the syrup is not sweet enough, add more agave (or honey), one tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness is achieved. Remember, you can always add more sweetener, but you can't take it out once it is added!
- Garnish: While not required, I highly recommend garnishing your cocktail glasses with a sugar rim! It enhances the sweetness of the cocktail! Just make sure you coat the rim in sugar BEFORE you muddle the basil leaves!
- To rim cocktail with a sugar, wet the rim with lime juice. Dip or roll the rim in sparkling or coarse sugar. Allow the rim to dry.
- Mocktail: Use extra strawberry syrup and lemon-lime soda to replace the vodka!
- Soda: I use regular sprite or 7 up in my cocktails. However you can use any lemon-lime flavored soda you love! Both diet and regular sodas work well!
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