“I’ve lived in New Orleans long enough now that the first few months of the year always feel like a celebration to me,” says Stephen Burgess, the assistant general manager and bar director at Justine in the city’s French Quarter. Charged with the excitement around Mardi Gras, the team at the brasserie-inspired restaurant looked to add its own buzz to the party with a fizzy, herbal drink to take to the streets. Basil, aloe liqueur, and absinthe come together to impart a green hue and botanical aroma, and a squeeze of lime and splash of sparkling wine keep it light and fresh. The Chareau aloe liqueur adds an unexpected, grassy twist that balances the booze: “It’s a fantastic plant-based liqueur that features other fresh botanicals like aloe, cucumber, musk melon, lemon peel, and spearmint. It works in parallel with absinthe to create a homogenized, flavorful, refreshing combination,” Burgess says.
Party Mixer: The Boozy Muse
This sparkling green cocktail from Justine in New Orleans keeps the good times rolling
Photo: Randy Schmidt
The Boozy Muse (Yield: 1 cocktail)
4–5 basil leaves
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. lime juice
1 oz. gin (Justine uses Citadelle)
¼ oz. Chareau aloe liqueur
¼ oz. dry vermouth
1 bar spoon absinthe (Justine uses Kübler)
3–4 oz. Charmart method dry sparkling wine (Justine suggests JP Chenet, or a brut prosecco or cava)
Using a bar spoon, gently muddle basil with simple syrup in a shaker tin.
Add the lime juice, gin, Chareau, vermouth, and absinthe with ice. Shake.
Strain the contents into a collins glass over fresh ice and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with basil and lime.