Cinnamon Basil Japanese Cocktail

It’s Monday; I just started a new job (yay!), and I’m tired.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually very excited about this job, and I already love my new students, but getting used to working full-time after you haven’t done so in a while is always difficult.

So, I’m not ashamed to admit that after having dinner last night, I asked my husband to make me a cocktail. This cinnamon basil Japanese Cocktail to be exact. I had been running around all day, and I just need to sit down, sip on something delicious, and not think about work for 30 minutes. I’m sure you’ve been there.

This cocktail is smooth, sweet, and subtly spicy. Just the thing to have after a long day at work, and perfect for fall since it’s a bit more robust than the summer cocktails that I’ve posted in the past.

Cinnamon basil Japanese cocktail garnished with a basil sprig

What is cinnamon basil?

I honestly don’t know. I found it at the farmers market while I was looking for cilantro and bought it because the sign next to it said that it is great in cocktails.

Cinnamon basil has smaller, darker leaves than regular basil, and purple flower pods. It’s doesn’t really taste like cinnamon, but it does have a certain spiciness and warmth to it that is reminiscent of this spice.

I couldn’t find much information on it except for this Wikipedia article. I’ve tried putting it in salads, and I just found it to be too pungent and overpowering, but I bet it would be great in baked goods and even ice cream.

If you can’t find it, you could try using regular basil and just a tiny bit of cinnamon.

Cinnamon basil

What is a Japanese Cocktail?

The Japanese Cocktail is a classic cocktail that dates back to the 19th century. As this article from Punch explains, no one really knows how it got its name, although theories abound. There’s nothing actually Japanese about the ingredients that go into it, which just makes its name all the more mysterious.

It is traditionally made with cognac, orgeat, and bitters, and I stayed pretty close to the traditional version. Orgeat is a type of syrup made of almonds (!). I’m madly in love with it at the moment because adds so much more complexity to cocktails than just regular simple syrup.

I actually bought my orgeat from Safeway, of all places, so I’m sure it’s not difficult to find. Amazon also sells it, but you can make your own by following this recipe from Serious Eats (don’t you just love them?)

To new jobs!

Cinnamon Basil Japanese Cocktail

September 12, 2017
: 1
: 10 min
: 10 min

This cinnamon basil Japanese Cocktail is smooth, sweet, and subtly spicy.


  • 2 oz cognac
  • ½ oz orgeat
  • 5 leaves of cinnamon basil
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • One cinnamon basil sprig (to garnish)
  • Step 1 Place the basil leaves and the orgeat at the bottom of a mixing glass and muddle them together.
  • Step 2 Add plenty of ice, the Angostura bitters, and the cognac, and stir until well chilled.
  • Step 3 Double strain the mixture into a chilled coupe glass.
  • Step 4 Garnish with the sprig of basil.
  • Step 5 Serve immediately.

Disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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