At Cantine, Sir Basil cocktail serves as tribute to Oxford professor

Sir Basil features gin and chartreuse for herbal overtones balanced by a grapefruit, basil and agave syrup. Arianna Auber / American-Statesman

Combined ShapeCaption
Sir Basil features gin and chartreuse for herbal overtones balanced by a grapefruit, basil and agave syrup. Arianna Auber / American-Statesman

Like anyone creating something new, a bartender finds inspiration for an original cocktail in unexpected places sometimes: during the encore song at an Asking Alexandria concert, perhaps, or at an arts-and-crafts workshop learning how to make macramé curtains. Inspiration often strikes at odd times.

For Chris Moore, bar manager at Cantine, his Sir Basil cocktail resulted from not such a peculiar place — right behind the bar. Before moving to the Italian restaurant, Moore worked at the Four Seasons Austin for 13 years and remembers an Oxford professor visiting every summer, staying at the hotel for 3 to 4 months while teaching at UT and ordering a gin and chartreuse drink at the Lobby Bar.

“He was actually knighted, so he was called ‘Sir Basil,’” Moore said. “He always had a love for gin, so I made this as a tribute to him.”

In Moore’s cocktail, available for $10 at Cantine, you’ll notice the gin and chartreuse are in perfect herbal harmony, while the grapefruit provides a brightening balance and the agave delivers a sweet, silky note that hits the palate behind the others.

Sir Basil

1 1/2 oz. Aviation Gin

3/4 oz. chartreuse

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/2 grapefruit basil agave (see below)

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with basil and grapefruit.

Grapefruit Basil Agave

3 cup light agave

1 cup water

Zest of 4 grapefruits

Handful of basil

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes and strain.

— Cantine’s bar manager, Chris Moore