Tall, effervescent and a gorgeous ruby red, this drink honors “a loose blueprint of the Negroni,” says Rob Roy owner Anu Apte-Elford. A lavish bouquet of tulsi, an aromatic herb also known as “holy basil,” adds an attractive flourish and intensifies the floral, herbaceous notes of the gin.
To nudge the drink even closer to Negroni territory, Apte-Elford suggests swapping the soda water and bitters for a Campari-like non-alcoholic bitter soda like Sanbitter, Cinzano Bitter or Red Bitter by Stappi. This will make the drink a bit sweeter, she cautions.
Garnish: wide lemon peel, bouquet of fresh tulsi (see Editor’s Note), small dish of mukhwas (Indian breath fresheners)
Fill a Collins glass with ice.
Pour in 2 ounces of soda water, followed by gin, Ludlow Red and grapefruit bitters.
Top up with additional soda water, if desired.
Stir once or twice with a reusable straw.
Twist lemon peel over top of the drink to express its essential oils.
Wrap the lemon peel around the bouquet of fresh tulsi and secure with a bamboo pick. Place the garnish into the drink, positioning it “so that when sipping from the straw you get tulsi just under your nose,” Apte-Elford says.
If tulsi is unavailable, Italian basil or Thai basil can be substituted. In case of the latter, use green leaves only and omit the purple ones, Apte-Elford says.