Right around now, heavier, warming spirits (smoky Scotch, intense amari) start getting upstaged by brighter liquors on cocktail lists, and, befitting everyone’s sprightlier mood, bubbles are much easier to come by. Call it spring cleaning. The Sumo at Red Lantern, a lounge-y and immense Pan-Asian restaurant in Back Bay, epitomizes spring drinking. Plus, it’s a fine option for easing into the elaborate, hyper-summery tiki drinks that make up the rest of the menu here. Grapefruit juice, a too often underutilized citrus, curbs the cucumber sweetness of Hendrick’s Gin, while Thai basil gives it a just-subtle-enough savory note to pique your interest. Add bubbles and there it is: a jolt of spring vitality.
Makes 1 drink
1½ ounces Hendrick’s Gin
½ ounce simple syrup (to make syrup: In a small saucepan over low heat, heat equal parts sugar and water just until sugar melts)
4 Thai basil leaves
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
½ ounce sparkling rosé
1. In a cocktail shaker over ice, pour gin and simple syrup. Add Thai basil leaves. Shake for 5 seconds.
2. Add grapefruit juice and shake 3 seconds more.
3. Strain into a martini glass
4. Top with rosé.