There are great drinks, there are also good drinks and then there are drinks, which are ok - and yes - there are drinks which are pretty awful.
I am usually don't care for awful drinks. These are drinks, which have a screwed up concept - which have in the core an unredeemable quality (or better - lack of quality).
Ok drinks - are pretty good to fix. You first of all try to exchange all parts with quality ingredients. A bit more TLC around technique and presentation, and you end up at least with a good drink - maybe it could be even a great drink.
Good drinks - are difficult to "improve upon". But often these drinks "on the street" are made with mediocre products, which can be replaced by better products.
The most difficult part is to try to improve a great drink. What can be better than great? Greater? But sometimes you got an epiphany.
The Gin Basil Smash is a pretty awesome cocktail. Jörg Meyer from Le Lion in Hamburg did an incredible job, in creating a modern classic. It is still underrepresented in my eyes. Still it is great.
It contains: Gin, Basil, fresh lemon juice and rich syrup.
Yes - a very reduced drink - even a tougher challenge.
However I found a small problem: often even after a lot of basil and a lot of muddling, the basil doesn't really stain the drink green. So I tried my secret bar tool out: the immersion blender.
Yes - I think, the stick blender is one of the coolest (simple) bar tools. It is totally inexpensive, and can help you to do a lot of amazing drinks. A Piña Colada with a stick blender is cool - your shakers are not becoming all smeary and fatty, and you don't have to disturb your guests with a loud normal blender (plus latter is far more difficult to clean up).
I used 10 big basil leaves (and I realized after making the drink that this is too much for this method) - measured all ingredients, blended everything - through everything into a shaker - shook it wild and fine strained it.
The result is an emerald drink, far darker as your usual Gin Basil Smash - it had also an intense basil taste - probably it would be better to half your basil leaves (and lets face it - it might be a good thing to save basil - in bars, you have less cost as well as less "gunk" - and at home you can do more Basil Smashs with the same amount of basil).
I had the feeling that the drink was slightly lacking something. Ever so slightly. I added just a pinch of salt - and this gave this drink the specific je ne sais quoi.
So here you have got it. A Gin Basil Smash, which might be just a tad better than the incredible great drink, Jörg Meyer created. Please Jörg, don't kill me for this...
The only problem is... can you call it really Gin Basil Smash? It is rather a Gin Basil Blitz... but then, a smash is original with mint... it is a slippery slope...