This refreshing cocktail takes advantage of fresh herbs and strawberries in a unique and summery party drink.
Strawberries and basil are a classic flavour combination. If you’ve never tried the two together before, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Both are gloriously in season right now and if I eat any more strawberries there’s a very real risk I’ll turn into an actual strawberry. True story.
All the soft summer herbs are also thriving in my garden so I’ve been trying to use them in different ways to take advantage of their fresh flavour. This champagne cocktail is gorgeous. Rewrite, champagne is gorgeous. Simply adding in a little strawberries and basil takes it in a different direction and will have your guests talking. This would be ideal for pre-Christmas drinkies, or even Christmas Day itself.
If it’s not summer where you are, or you can’t get fresh strawberries, you could substitute with frozen – they’re getting blended anyway so it won’t make a huge difference.
I used a handful of perfectly ripe and sweet strawberries, then blended them up with a little sugar and water, and a good grind of black pepper. If you’re a doubter on the pepper, leave it out, but I think it works beautifully. It’s subtle, but intensifies the natural peppery flavour of the basil. I cut the basil into fine ribbons, stirred it through the strawberry puree, then spooned a little into the bottom of each glass before topping up with bubbles.
The choice of bubbles is really up to you and your budget. To be honest I probably wouldn’t use actual champagne in a cocktail, when a cheaper and perfectly lovely sparkling wine would do the job. Unless you like your drinks very sweet, I’d recommend a drier wine – as you’ll be adding sweetness via the strawberries. I’d choose a sparkling brut or rosé.
Strawberry and basil champagne cocktail
- 1 bottle of sparkling wine, chilled
- 1/2 cup chopped strawberries, approximately 4 large strawberries
- 1 tbsp sugar, or sweetener of your choice
- 1 tbsp water
- Good grind of black pepper
- 4 leaves large basil, sliced into fine ribbonss
- Blend strawberries, sugar, water and black pepper until smooth.
- Stir sliced basil through the strawberry mixture. .
- Spoon a little puree into the bottom of a champagne flute, then top with sparkling wine.