Classic with a Twist: Angostura Basil Smash

The Basil Smash cocktail stands as a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of modern mixology, with its origins rooted in the vibrant cocktail scene of the early 21st century. This refreshing and herbaceous libation is a delightful fusion of classic flavors and contemporary techniques, but its story begins with a humble herb: basil.

The Angostura bitters add a unique depth of flavour and complexity to the traditional Basil Smash cocktail, enhancing its herbal and citrus notes with subtle hints of spice and bitterness. Below, a recipe and instructions for this cool spring cocktail. Adjust the amount of bitters according to your preference for a personalised twist on this classic cocktail. Cheers!


The Underdog Bar Vienna Cocktail Bar Wien Thomas Dröszler Josef Müllner




2 oz gin
3-4 fresh basil leaves
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Ice cubes
Basil leaves and lemon twist, for garnish


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the fresh basil leaves gently to release their flavours.
Add gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice cubes to the shaker.
Shake well until the mixture is thoroughly chilled.
Strain the mixture into a chilled rocks glass filled with ice.
Add two dashes of Angostura bitters on top of the cocktail.
Garnish with a fresh basil leaf and a twist of lemon.
Serve and enjoy your refreshing Angostura Basil Smash!


The Underdog Bar Vienna Cocktail Bar Wien Thomas Dröszler Hendricks Gin



The Basil Smash traces its roots back to 2008 when German bartender Jörg Meyer crafted the original recipe at his renowned bar, Le Lion – Bar de Paris, in Hamburg. Inspired by the classic gin-based cocktail, the Gin Smash, Meyer sought to elevate the drink with a fresh twist. Drawing upon the aromatic and culinary properties of basil, he introduced this fragrant herb as the star ingredient, imparting a vibrant green hue and aromatic complexity to the cocktail.

To create the Basil Smash, Meyer combined fresh basil leaves with gin, lemon juice, and a touch of simple syrup. The mixture was then vigorously shaken with ice, resulting in a crisp and herbaceous libation that captured the essence of summer in a glass. The cocktail’s balanced blend of citrus, botanicals, and herbal notes quickly garnered acclaim among patrons and industry professionals alike, earning it a permanent place on cocktail menus around the world.

Since its inception, the Basil Smash has inspired countless variations and interpretations, with bartenders experimenting with different spirits, herbs, and flavour profiles to put their own spin on this modern classic. From the addition of muddled strawberries to the incorporation of balsamic vinegar, the Basil Smash continues to evolve and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of mixology, proving its enduring appeal and versatility.

Today, the Basil Smash remains a beloved staple of cocktail culture, cherished for its simplicity, elegance, and refreshing flavour profile. Whether enjoyed on a sunny terrace or at a bustling bar, this herb-infused libation serves as a timeless tribute to the artistry and innovation of the modern cocktail renaissance.