Back Bar | El Demonio

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Thanks to its lengthy infusion, basil takes the lead in this spring-appropriate recipe.

El Demonio

Recipe adapted from Charles Hardwick, New York City

Yield: 1 cocktail

Cook Time: 10 minutes, plus 20 days resting time


Basil liqueur

  • 20 basil leaves
  • One 750-ml bottle high-proof vodka
  • 3 cups granulated sugar


  • 4 pieces thinly sliced jalapeño
  • ½ ounce agave nectar
  • 1 barspoon black-currant preserves
  • 1 ounce evaporated milk
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 ounces Anejo tequila
  • ¾ ounce basil liqueur
  • Ice
  • Ginger beer
  • 2 dashes The Bitter Truth bitters
  • Lime wheel
  • 2 pieces candied ginger, skewered on a toothpick


1. Make the basil liqueur: In a lidded container, combine the basil leaves with the vodka. Let sit for 2 to 3 days, turning once a day, then strain and discard the basil leaves. In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine the sugar and 2½ cups of water and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool, then combine the sugar water with the basil-infused vodka. Cover and set aside for 20 days in a dark place at room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, muddle together the jalapeño with the agave nectar and the black-currant preserves. Add the evaporated milk, lime juice, tequila and basil liqueur. Cover and shake for 30 seconds.  Fill the shaker with ice, cover and shake for 30 seconds longer. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with ginger beer and the bitters. Garnish with the lime wheel and the candied ginger.

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