Lemon Basil Lemonade. {And Cocktail.}

01 August 2013

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My in-laws have a huge garden each summer.  We benefit greatly in the form of raspberries, zucchini, lettuce, and sometimes even dreaded beets.  Every time Finn or Tate go over there, they come home with cartons of gooseberries or a radish or two.  Yesterday, we stopped to visit.  At Tate’s insistence, we wandered through the garden with Grandma Sue, talking about tomatoes and peaches, when we came to a pot of lemon basil that smelled a-mazing.  The first thing I asked was, what can you make with lemon basil?  We talked about pasta and marinade.  I think it would also be good for potatoes, vinaigrette, chicken, or shrimp dishes.  Then, I said it would be awesome to try a lemon basil lemonade with it because it really has a pungent citrus smell.  Sue picked a bunch and sent it home with us to give it a try.

I decided first, I would make an EASY homemade simple syrup. 

What is simple syrup?  I’m glad you asked.  Simple syrup is just water and sugar heated together until it combines and you no longer have sugar crystals.  Sounds fancy, but it takes just a few minutes on the stove for this to happen.  It’s great for making sweet tea or lemonade because the sugar is already incorporated.  FYI, my friend Emily made simple syrup for a shower once and I thought it was a genius idea so people aren’t stirring in a bunch of sugar that sits at the bottom of their tea, she put it in a cute little container with a pour spout.  Ta daaa!  Tea as sweet as you’d like it.

Simple syrup is also versatile because you can add anything you like to flavor it.  Remember that yummy vanilla lime simple syrup?  The only limit is your imagination.  Add mint and lime for a simple syrup mojito, add lavender or rose or hot chilies for fancy unique cocktails, and yes, lemons for simple syrup lemonade.  The ratio I always use is 1:1.  Equal parts sugar to water.  Then add whatever you’d like for flavor.

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Lemon Basil Lemonade

  • Lemon Basil Simple Syrup {recipe below}
  • 1 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice {about 5 lemons}
  • 2.5 - 3.5 cups of water {to taste, you can use fizzy here if you want}
  • strawberries {optional}
  • lemon slices, + basil leaves to garnish

In a pitcher, combine lemon basil simple syrup, lemon juice, and water.  Stir until combined.  Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon slice and basil leaf.  If you like, you can slightly mash a few strawberries and add.  My kids loved both versions.

If you want to make it a cocktail, add vodka to taste.

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Lemon Basil Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of lemon basil leaves * {if you want it extra basil-y, add a few regular basil leaves as well}
  • peel from 1-2 lemons {use your vegetable peeler here, it’s super easy!}

Put everything in a saucepan on the stove.  Heat, stirring until all sugar crystals are fully incorporated.  {The water will look clear again.}  Remove from heat and allow to stand one hour.  Then, strain out solid pieces and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

* If you don’t have access to lemon basil, you could use regular basil, however I would use 1/3 cup of regular basil and double the lemon zest while making the simple syrup.

2 comments:

Bunny @ 86n It said...

YUM!

Sara @ Russet Street Reno said...

This sounds awesome. I love basil, never tried it in a drink before!

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