Bleu Boheme’s Basil Martini
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Bleu Bohème

4090 Adams Avenue, Kensington

Spring sprang a few months ago, but over at Kensington’s Bleu Bohème, things are still looking — and tasting — pretty fresh and green.

“It’s a really fresh, delicious, and easy-drinking martini,” bartender Sarah Proctor says of the French eatery’s basil martini. “And it has a beautiful green color, which everyone loves. When you muddle up the basil, it releases all the colors from it.”

A relative of the gimlet, the basil martini can also be ginned up on request, Proctor says.

“It is actually very good with gin and we occasionally make it that way,” she says. “We have a couple regulars who request it for the botanicals from the gin, which are nice.”

Sarah Proctor, Bleu Boheme

Sarah Proctor, Bleu Boheme

But, gin or vodka, every time someone orders a basil martini the whole bar knows it, Proctor says, as she and her fellow mild-mannered mixologists become whirling dervishes dinning their tins into a muddled verdancy.

“We have our tins and muddlers and go to town on that bad boy,” she says. “It’s great at the bar because you make a spectacle of yourself — with basil flying all over the place and loud banging noises from every corner of the bar.”

Proctor says the drink’s distinctive “Kermit-green” is essential to its taste.

“Muddling the basil thoroughly with the sugar is important — you want to have it almost like a purée.... The flavor is real fresh citrus, and you definitely get the muddled basil done seconds before you drink it, it’s going to have a really fresh taste. The vodka is incredibly clean, so it’s almost like you don’t taste that aspect of it with a full citrus-basil body and a clean finish.”


  • 2 oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. sweet-and-sour mix
  • Juice of ½ fresh lime
  • ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 4–5 fresh basil leaves

In cocktail shaker, muddle fresh basil and sugar, add other ingredients and fill with ice, “shake it like you’re mad at it,” strain into martini glass and garnish with a single basil leaf.

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