Summer is officially here, and what better way to celebrate than with an ice cold glass of lemonade? This version, which I created for Vegetarian Times (April/May 2012, p. 54), gets infused with fresh basil, but you could also use mint, or lesser amounts of rosemary, sage, or thyme. The basil syrup will keep for up to a month in the fridge, so you may want to double the recipe and use the extra to sweeten iced tea or summer cocktails. I like to add a splash (or more) of vodka and serve it as a signature cocktail at backyard BBQs and picnics.
Basil adds subtle sweetness to an otherwise tart drink. The simple syrup will keep for up to a month in the fridge, so you may want to double the recipe and use the extra to sweeten iced tea and spring cocktails.
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed, plus 6 basil sprigs for garnish
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
- Bring basil leaves, sugar, and 2 cups water to a boil in medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar and bruise basil leaves. Simmer 5 minutes without stirring. Strain, pressing on basil to remove liquid. Cool.
- Pour 2 cups basil syrup into large pitcher. Stir in lemon juice and 4 cups water. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill well. Serve over ice, garnished with basil sprigs.
Vegetarian Times featured my recipe for Basil Lemonade as their low-fat recipe of the week in April 2013.Photo credit: Vegetarian Times