Summer drinks at Basi Italia bring kitchen inspiration to the patio
The hidden gem of Victorian Village dining has yet another gem hiding behind it: Basi Italia, the exquisite little neighborhood eatery, has a beautiful patio and bar tucked in its backyard. Soft greenery and old shade trees frame the relaxing scene, where patrons hang out at a communal table or dine at quiet garden tables.
Basi’s innovative Italian cuisine shares the spotlight here with equally creative drinks. The easygoing smile of mixologist Phil Richardson sets the tone behind the bar, and his seasonal cocktail menu is a natural extension of chef John Dornback’s kitchen.
The Gin & Berry Kickback ($12), for instance, is conjured with an alchemist’s kit of culinary potions: blueberry shrub (a tangy syrup of fruit, sugar and vinegar or alcohol), tarragon syrup and a black pepper tincture that’s measured from a Mason jar with an eyedropper. It’s all powered by Nolet’s gin and finished with a mist of creme de violette. The result is remarkably complex, unfolding in origami layers of sweet and tart, fruity and herbal.
The Basilare ($10) grows from a different kind of garden. It’s made with muddled cucumber, celery bitters, lime, Tito’s vodka and basil puree, which gives the cocktail an intense green color. The taste is bright and fresh too, like a luscious vegetable patch after a cool spring rain.
811 Highland St.,
Putting a twist on a classic summer sipper, Basi’s house-made Sangria ($8) has the depth of robust vermouth with a cooling kick of citrus. Crafted with red wine, brandy, fruit and spices, including cinnamon, clove and chili flakes, it’s a little spicy and a lot refreshing. Just like a relaxing night in the best backyard in Victorian Village.
Maybe it only feels like the tropics around here—we’ve got all of the heat, but none of the beach. At least you can drink like you’re vacationing in paradise. Here’s a refreshing recipe courtesy of Nida’s Thai on High in the Short North. thaionhigh.com
1 1/2 ounces Skyy passion fruit vodka
1/2 ounce fresh
2 ounces lemonade
Shake and serve over ice in a highball glass; garnish with a lemon slice.
*You can get prepared ginger juice at specialty retailers, but Nida’s makes its own by simply running fresh, peeled ginger through an electric juicer.