Manhattan distillery releases limited basil-infused vodka for Earth Day

A bottle of Our/New York's basil-infused vodka. (Photo courtesy of Our/New York)

I'm always interested in the offbeat, sometimes weird things that New York breweries and distilleries try out now and then to get noticed and perhaps do some good. That is why a new offering from a New York City distillery that FOX 5 NY profiled in 2018 caught my eye. 

Every year in New York, millions of tons of food go to waste and end up in the trash. So in an effort to be more sustainable, even in a small way, a distillery in Manhattan partnered with a Brooklyn farm and a food equity group to make a limited edition basil-infused vodka in time for Earth Day. 

Our/New York, Manhattan's first distillery since the end of Prohibition, created the spirit with surplus basil from Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company, in collaboration with the nonprofit Rethink Food

Dave Ortiz, a partner in Our/New York, said the distillery was "thrilled" to repurpose basil to make a sustainable spirit.

"Working with a fresh ingredient like basil is an intricate process, requiring a lot of time and care to get just right," Ortiz said in a statement. "It's a complex, yet familiar flavor that makes for a really compelling drink on its own or in any number of cocktails."

Here is a summary of the process, according to Our/New York.

The basil is hand-chopped, added to the base spirit and water, and allowed to infuse for 24 hours. The concoction is filtered and distilled to remove the basil, blended with triple-filtered New York City water and a corn-based neutral spirit, and then hand-bottled at 70 proof at the brand's distillery in Chelsea

Our/New York Basil is being released in a limited run of 1,800 bottles available at bars, restaurants, and retailers in New York.

And because I can't resist sharing cocktail recipes, here is one from Our/New York. Try it with brunch this weekend. 

The Midnight Mary cocktail. (Photo courtesy of Our/New York)

The Midnight Mary

  • 3 parts Our/New York Basil
  • 8 parts bloody mary mix
  • Pink salt, for the rim
  • Cayenne pepper, for the rim
  • Pickled vegetables, for garnish
  • Lemon wedge, for garnish

Shake Our/New York Basil and bloody mary mix with ice. 

Pour all contents (do not strain) into a highball glass rimmed with pink salt and cayenne pepper.

Garnish with pickled vegetables and lemon wedge.

Arun Kristian Das is chief spirits correspondent senior digital content creator for Follow him on Twitter.