Basil Lemonade

I love Basil. In my humble opinion, there are few foods that don't benefit from the addition of basil, so I am always looking for an excuse to cut a few leaves off the plant in my kitchen and toss them into the mix.

A long time ago, when I was still in college and working for a catering company in Redmond, WA, I tasted Basil Lemonade. Forever afterward, Lemonade is simply not the same standing alone in a jug with out its herbal companion. Rosemary Lemonade and Lavendar Lemonade are well-loved elsewhere, but they don't do much for me. I didn't have a recipe for it, though, so after experimenting through a few sad, sour batches, I finally came up with a recipe that makes me really happy. So happy, in fact, I had the caterers make big bowls of it to serve at my wedding in 2009.  It's the perfect summer drink, or for anytime you want to pretend that it is summer, and not still -28 C and snowing outside...

Basil Lemonade

for the simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup cold water

combine the ingredients in a small pot and cook on medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely and the mixture comes a boil. Remove from heat and cool

for the basil water

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
1 cup boiling water

Place basil in a bowl large enough to hold 1 cup over water. Pour the boiling water over the basil and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Leave it alone for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, reserving the water. Toss the basil into your compost - you've extracted all of that great flavor.

get your glasses ready!

juice of 6 lemons
1 cup simple syrup
1 cup basil water
2 -3 cups of cold water, depending on how tart you want your lemonade
1 cup of ice

Combine the ingredients, stirring thoroughly. Basil Lemonade is best served cold, with minimal ice, in a tall glass with a sprig of fresh basil.

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