Nothing screams \u201cAugust farmers\u2019 market\u201d like the spicy-sweet scent of fresh basil. The name comes from the Greek basilik\u00f3n, meaning \u201croyal,\u201d and, indeed, it\u2019s often referred to as the royal herb or king of herbs. Basil is a member of the mint family and a good replacement in juleps and smashes. And stop arguing: Both BAYZ-uhl and BAZ-uhl are accepted pronunciations.\r\nFun-Facts\r\n1.\u00a0Basil is considered an aphrodisiac in Romania; in Mexico it\u2019s believed to attract money.\r\n\r\n2.\u00a0The French phrase semer le basilic (\u201cto sow basil\u201d) means to slander or rant.\r\n\r\n3.\u00a0Basilcello is a bright green, basil-infused liqueur found in some Italian homes.\r\n\r\n4.\u00a0In the U.S., the name Basil\u2014currently on a sharp upswing\u2014reached its peak in 1911.\r\n\r\n5.\u00a0In Hinduism, Tulsi, or \u201cHoly Basil,\u201d is a sacred plant associated with the god Vishnu.\r\n\r\n6.\u00a0The tallest basil plant ever recorded was 11 feet tall and grown in Crete.\r\n\r\n\r\nPair It\r\n\u201cBasil is truly one of the world\u2019s most flexible herbs,\u201d says Bruce Achtermann, head of the beverage program at The Herbfarm in Woodinville, Washington. The restaurant\u2019s tasting menus often focus on herbs from its gardens, which include more than a dozen basil varieties. \u201cSome basils are more citrus driven, others are more spicy in focus. If basil is your primary driver, look to play off of the sharp green aromatics with a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or Chile\u2019s Casablanca Valley. If it\u2019s used more as a spice, your options are endless.\u201d\r\n\r\nAchtermann recommends Champagne or a domestic blanc de blancs with spicy Thai basil\u2013driven dishes. He suggests a buttery Chardonnay with sweet Genovese basil and pasta, while a rich, savory Bordeaux blend or Cabernet Franc pairs well with steak crusted in several types of basil. For dessert, he suggests tearing fresh cinnamon basil over ice cream and serving Vin Santo.