I’m prone to insomnia, and I used to fight it. Now, I lean into it by whipping out the laptop, by lighting up something that’s not too stimulating, and by making a couple glasses of this low-alcohol cocktail. It’s as easy to sip at 5 PM as it is at 12:45 AM; and it takes a whole two minutes to put together. If you have a vermouth that’s particularly aromatic feel free to skip the sherry. You can really put your foot in this drink — a small wedge of grapefruit is an excellent stand-in for lemon; mint can easily take the place of basil; and mezcal would make a sophisticated swap-out for gin. Serves 1, generously (but I always end up drinking 2).
- ¼ fresh lemon
- 2 basil leaves, optional
- Simple syrup, to taste (I like 1 Tablespoon)
- 1½ fl oz dry white vermouth
- ¼ fl oz dry sherry (skip if your vermouth is bougie)
- ½ fl oz gin (I like Tanqueray in this)
- Several dashes of potent bitters (I love Moondog Latin or Exorcism in this)
- Ice cubes
- Mineral water (I usually have Topo Chico or Perrier)
- In a big glass, muddle lemon with basil leaves, if using. Add simple syrup, vermouth, sherry (if using), gin, bitters, and ice. Mix well then top with mineral water. Sip slowly.
- If you wish to double it, which I do, simply muddle lemon and basil in a cocktail pitcher instead. Add simple syrup, vermouth, sherry, gin, and bitters then mix well. Strain into a glass then to the glass add ice and mineral water. Stir and enjoy.