Mixology 619: Basil Martini

Bar manager of Bleu Bohème, Sarah Proctor

If you’re looking for a nicely balanced cocktail with sweet and citrus flavors, a fresh herb aroma and a clean finish, then this martini is for you.

Watch as the bar manager of Bleu Bohème, Sarah Proctor, makes the basil martini.

Did you grow up in San Diego?

I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and I’ve lived in San Diego for about four years.

How did you get into bartending?

I started bartending at a brewpub when I was 21. It’s such a fun job that I’ve stayed with it.

How long have you been working at Bleu Bohème?

I’ve been working at Bleu Bohème for about four years. It’s a great restaurant with delicious food and amazing people.

What kind of experience can someone get at Bleu Bohème?

Bleu Bohème offers upscale French dining in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere. We have an extensive wine list, great cocktails and the food is to die for.

When you’re not mixing drinks, what are you doing on your spare time?

If I’m at a baseball game with a San Diego craft beer in my hand, I’m a pretty happy girl.

Basil Martini

Price: $11.50; Half-off during ‘heure social,’ social hour from 5 to 6 p.m. daily.

  • 3-5 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz. sweet-and-sour mix

What’s the origin of basil martini?

The basil martini has been our signature cocktail at Bleu Bohème from the very beginning.

How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?

The martini is nicely balanced with sweet and citrus flavors, a fresh herb aroma and a clean finish.

What would be the key component to this drink?

The muddled basil is the key component because it’s what gives the drink its signature green color and fresh flavor.

What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?

It’s such a fun drink. The process of making it always draws attention to the bar. Everyone loves the bright green color and it’s very easy to drink and approachable.

How important is it to use sugar in this cocktail?

The sugar is used to create the muddled basil purée, with the sweetness balancing the bitterness of the plant material. It can be made without sugar, but it changes the texture of the drink as well as the flavor.

The vodka gives the cocktail a clean taste, but could you substitute the vodka for something else?

Gin is another option. The gin botanicals mesh well with the citrus and herbal flavors in the basil martini.

What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

Our Salade de Farro with roasted dates and butternut squash is a great pairing. The basil martini would also complement our chef’s nightly catch of the day prepared “façon du chef.”

Bleu Bohème

4090 Adams Ave., Kensington

(619) 255-4167 or

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Jarnard Sutton is a multimedia producer for DiscoverSD and San Diego Union-Tribune. He loves providing readers with updates on music and events happening in San Diego. You can follow Jarnard on Twitter at @jarnard for everything music, food, beer and television. You can also follow him on Instagram at @nardvillain

Source: DiscoverSD