Mixing vodka and jarred tomato juice for a Bloody Mary gives you a classic morning cocktail, but using fresh tomato juice and basil makes a fine evening martini to sip on. Crush up heirloom tomatoes and strain the juice. Muddle a basil leaf, add some vodka and a pinch of salt, and you’ve got a cocktail with the flavors of summer.
1 1/2 poundsheirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into large chunks
1/2 teaspoonkosher salt, plus more as needed
5 medium basil leaves
Place the tomatoes and measured salt in a medium bowl and smash with a potato masher until the skins separate from the flesh and seeds.
Place the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Using the potato masher, firmly press out as much juice as possible (be careful not to break the strainer). Switch to a rubber spatula and continue to press until only solids remain. Scrape the bottom of the strainer and discard the solids. You should have almost 1 cup of juice; set aside.
Place 5 martini glasses in the freezer to chill.
To make 1 drink, place 2 ounces of the vodka, 1 1/2 ounces of the tomato juice, and 1 basil leaf in a cocktail shaker. Muddle until the basil is just crushed and fragrant. Add ice to fill the shaker halfway and shake until the outside is frosted, about 30 seconds.
Strain into 1 of the chilled glasses and garnish with a lemon twist and a pinch of salt. Repeat to make 4 more drinks.