Monday, June 9, 2014

Basil Lemonade



  Have you ever used fresh herbs in beverages? I'm a big fan of using fresh mint in iced tea, and I've also recently discovered Lemon Balm (which is also in the mint family and has a nice lemony mint flavor). So fresh! So when my friend Lea found a recipe for Basil Lemonade, I thought "Why not?" Basil is also in the mint family, so it makes perfect sense, right? Why have we never done this before? Sounds perfectly summery, doesn't it? It made me think of the time I was grocery shopping when I ran into my friend Claudia who was about to purchase a fresh basil plant. She said to me "Here, smell this..... doesn't it smell like summer?" It's so true! (which is why I have a huge window box of fresh basil growing on my window sill every summer.) I just love it! So let's pair it with lemons for a deliciously refreshing drink! And even though I'm not much of a drinker, I've read that you can add vodka to it for a deliciously fresh party drink. How awesome is that? I just might have to try it! I found this recipe on Epicurious.com. It isn't the exact same recipe that Lea showed me, but it's basically the same idea. You make a basil lemon syrup, and then you use that as one of the components of your lemonade. So easy and SO refreshing! Try it!  Thanx Lea!


For the syrup:
4 cups packed fresh basil sprigs (top 4 inches; from a 1/2-pound bunch) 
4 cups water 
2 cups sugar 
9 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest

 Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.
 Syrup keeps, covered and chilled, 5 days.

For the lemonade:
2 cups basil lemon syrup
2 cups cold water 
2 cups ice cubes 
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
fresh basil sprigs and lemon zest strips, for garnish

  Stir together all ingredients in a large pitcher, then pour into tall glasses half filled with ice.
Lemonade, without ice, can be made 3 hours ahead and chilled, covered.

Tips:
This syrup also makes a lovely addition to your home made iced tea.
I think I might have to try this syrup recipe with fresh mint or lemon balm. So refreshing!

1 comment:

John Hunt said...

Herbed lemonades and iced teas are the best!. I don't know why I've never thought of basil before. I have to try this today. My absolute favorite is lavender lemonade. Same concept. I use 7-10 sprigs of lavender to infuse the simple syrup. Rub the lavender gently in the sugar to help release the plant oils (and fragrance!). The floral bouquet adds a really nice touch to the flavor of fresh lemons. And you can't beat it as a garnish. Delicate lavender flowers against pale yellow-white - gorgeous! I also love rosewater lemonade. Add a tablespoon of rosewater to your simple syrup. Super easy. No straining. And yum!