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Friends recently took us to the Fish Gaucho in Paso Robles, and we loved their Strawberry Basil Margaritas.

I had to duplicate those flavors for my own guests, so here’s what I did.


Strawberry Basil Syrup

1 lb fresh strawberries, roughly chopped
5-6 fresh basil leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

6 oz Tequila
2 oz Cointreau
4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 1/2 – 2 cups water (substitute soda water to make it more fun)

For glass rim:

Pink Peppercorns


First we have to make the Strawberry Basil Syrup.  Most recipes just muddle the basil leaves and throw the strawberries in a blender.  Making an actual syrup will release more flavor.

Combine the strawberries, basil, sugar, and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every now and then.

When finished, strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the strawberry seeds and basil.  Place the result (should be about 1 cup) in the fridge to cool.

Once your syrup is ready, combine the cooled syrup, Tequila, Cointreau, and Lime Juice in a pitcher.  If using still water, you can add that too.  If using soda, I mix each drink to taste so the bubbles are fresh.

Hang a strawberry and basil sprig on the rim as garnish and serve.

If you want to rim the glass, the Fish Gaucho uses “Pink Peppercorn and Sugar”.  This kicks things up another notch:

Pink peppercorns lend foods a different kind of heat, closer to chiles than black pepper. They have the same peppery bite, but it’s wrapped in a sweet fruity flavor reminiscent of a berry with an attitude.