About a month ago, my beloved Aunt Khaki sent me a box of California lemons that came from right outside her back door. Apparently 2014 has been a stellar year for this citrus fruit in Santa Monica and she had more lemons than she could handle. I was giddy with excitement when she asked me for my mailing address. I welcomed recipe suggestions from others and I ended up making lemon muffins, blueberry lemon coffeecake, and salad dressings and marinades. Still, I had barely made a dent in my glorious supply and I was running out of time. Luckily, I stumbled upon a recipe for this basil lemonade and knew instantly that it would be perfect as it just so happens I have a flourishing basil plant in our herb garden. I got to juicing and plucked some basil and I was able to create this delicious and refreshing summer drink in no time.
I have a deep love for simple syrups. You may recall my borderline obsession with Northstar Cafe’s Fresh Ginger Ale , which is made with ginger simple syrup. This basil simple syrup is right up there as well. It is such a great way to jazz up the standard lemonade. This drink would make a great cocktail as well. Throw in a splash of rum or vodka and you’d be good to go.
I am really excited to experiment with more variations of simple syrups with summer’s bountiful supply of fresh produce. Mint, peaches, raspberries, cucumber. The possibilities are endless.
Have a fabulous Monday, everyone. I hope you enjoy this lemonade as much as we did!
Oh, and I must throw in a photo of my little sugar dumpling. He doesn’t like lemons. Yet. :)
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 12-15 lemons)
- 2 cups filtered or sparkling water
- 1 bunch fresh basil, washed and stemmed (about 1 cup loose-packed)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- Basil and lemon slices for garnish, optional
1. Make the basil simple syrup: Place 2 cups sugar, basil leaves, and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat until until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutres. Be sure to gently muddle the basil with a spoon as you heat the syrup to intensify the flavor. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain the syrup over a sieve and discard the basil leaves. Store in the refrigerator if you are not going to serve the lemonade immediately.
2. Assemble the lemonade: Mix the lemon juice and 2 cups water or sparkling water together in a pitcher. Add in the cooled basil simple syrup and stir. Serve over ice with a garnish of lemon and basil.
Source: Giada De Laurentiis