When life gives you basil... make basil lemonade!

Sunday, July 16, 2006
We're experiencing typical July weather in Washington: unbearably hot and humid, with air so thick and heavy you can practically slice it with a knife. The last place I want to be on a day like this is out in the garden, where there is not a single square foot of shade. I'd rather take some of the garden inside with me, and kick back with a nice cold glass of refreshing lemonade. And with our basil plants being so abundant with leaves right now, I thought: Why not try basil lemonade?

So here's my contribution to this week's edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is hosted at Kalyn's Kitchen. Be sure to check her site on Sunday night, for a re-cap of everyone's recipes.

~~~~~ Basil Lemonade ~~~~~~

First, I made ice cubes using a few leaves of lemon basil. Since the leaves of lemon basil are smaller than those of sweet basil, they fit nicely into each cube.

Then I took sweet basil leaves -- about 2 cups -- and chopped them up finely. (I decided to use sweet basil, because I thought the flavor of the lemon basil would get lost in the lemon juice. But any type of basil, including purple or Thai, could be used.)

Add the chopped leaves to a bowl, add sugar, and mash everything together. I used about 1/3 cup of sugar, but I would go with less next time. Adjust it to your own taste. Mash it up good -- until it looks like pesto.

Meanwhile...
... squeeze the lemons. I used nine lemons to my two cups of basil leaves.

Add the lemon juice and some plain water to the basil mixture. I didn't measure the juice or the water. Just keep tasting it... until it tastes to your liking.

Then strain your lemonade into a pitcher, add ice, sit back... and ENJOY!


This was sooooo delicious and refreshing. Even Michael really liked it! He added a little white wine to his, for an impromptu sangria. And I was thinking that, with a little tequila, this would make a fabulous margarita, too. This recipe will definitely get a replay at our house!

9 Comments:

Blogger Kalyn said...

Oh, I love the idea of this. It was 101 here yesterday, but not the humidity. I remember well how sticky it can get in D.C. in the summer!! Your photo reminded me that yesterday at the farmer's market a seller was telling me that you can freeze basil in ice cubes, and then just thaw it when you want to use the basil. Kind of a different twist on my way of freezing it.

1:04 PM  
Blogger steven said...

Basil lemonade is fantastic, but if I may make a suggestion, put a pinch of salt in as well, it puts the flavor over the top.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Hanna in Cleveland said...

I have never heard of basil lemonade, but it sure does look tasty.

I will have to give it a try when my basil comes into it full growth.

Thanks for the recipe!

8:22 PM  
Blogger gattina said...

I'm not adventure in mixing herbs and drinks... your recipe is totally inspiring! Oh, which one I should try first... lemonade, sangria or margarita?!?

6:38 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Kalyn,
The basil in the ice cubes worked out really well and was a nice addition to this. I actually got the idea from Giada De Laurentis on Food Network; she once used lemon rind in the ice cubes for a raspberry drink. I thought it was a nice touch.

Steven,
I will definitely add a little salt next time... plus the salt on the rim of my margarita glass! :-)

Hanna,
You're welcome. I hope you'll give it a try. It's delicious!

Gattina,
Why not try all three?

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy wow, this is a great idea! I love your basil recipes. I only wish I'd planted more so I'd have enough to try them all.

10:17 AM  
Blogger chuck b. said...

My plant ID teacher mentioned a drink she called The Rooftop: Lemonade, vodka and lots of thyme. I haven't tried it yet, but FYI.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Naturegirl said...

I copied down this recipe and shall try! oh it sounds wonderful!!Kalyns'
tip on freezing basil..great idea!

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

I recently read about this in gourmet and have been itching to try it. I will have to mess with this tonight, I am thinking a bit of sage or vietnamse coriander leaves out of the garden will give it an interesting and refreshing effect.

3:37 PM  

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