We have really enjoyed a mild spring (for Georgia) and the heat and humidity are starting to creep in. I loathe the summers here. Summer has never been my favorite season, and the oppressive humidity here makes it worse. But fortunately, we have swimming pools, air-conditioning, and this simple lemonade to help us cool down.
This recipe was inspired by a flavored water I started drinking when we lived in Italy. I would mash some strawberries with some basil and throw them in a pitcher of water in the fridge. The herbaceous flavor of the basil and the sweet strawberries perfectly complimented each other, delicately flavoring the water when sometimes plain ice water isn’t enough.
Being back in the Deep South summer reminds me of high school, sweating out on the porch next to the pool with icy lemonade trying to get the perfect tan. Though classic lemonade will always have a special place in my heart, I wanted to dress it up a bit, as well as use up some quickly decaying strawberries in my fridge.
This recipe starts with a simple syrup, both in name and execution. I brought one cup of sugar and one cup of cold filtered water to a boil, and gently boiled until the sugar dissolved. I threw in a handful of shredded basil leaves and refrigerated it overnight. I could (and did, just a bit) drink this syrup by itself. It is so worth the time and minimal effort, the cocktails you could make with it are endless.
Then I juiced some lemons, threw them into the blender with this syrup, some strawberries and a little water. A quick blend and it turned out better than I expected. Slightly sweet and tart, with a little something that doesn’t immediately identify as basil, but brings a smile to your face. My toddler also lit up when he sampled and quickly demanded “juice!” with a point to the blender. SO a definite crowd pleaser.
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
- Juice from 4 lemons/a little over 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 5 strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1/2 cup basil simple syrup
- 2 cups cold water
For Basil Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 6 large basil leaves, torn
A day in advance, add your sugar and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently boil, stirring occasionally until dissolved. Add basil leave, and let cool overnight.
When you are ready to make your lemonade, add the lemon juice, strawberries, basil syrup and cold water to a blender. Blend until pink and frothy, then strain into a pitcher or whatever you want. Add ice and enjoy!