Fresh Basil Lemonade

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Things to Drink
basil lemonade
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basil lemonade

Photo: Leigh Loftus

You know what I’m good at? Making lemonade.

No, there is no analogy here, I’m not saying that when life hands me lemons I am good at turning it into a positive situation. Because I’m actually not. I am, however, good at literally taking the lemons from my fridge and creating a tasty, refreshing summer beverage.

[Related: I’m also not so great at photographing said lemonade but don’t let that stop you from making it. I’m sure yours will look worlds prettier.] Lemon and basil is such a good savory combination that I couldn’t stop thinking about how it would be in something sweeter. However, after an indulgent weekend followed by a baking spree that resulted in a cheesecake and a savory galette, I thought I should keep things a little lighter.

This is a great way to cool off or rehydrate, if you wanted to add some vodka to this to make it adults-only, I certainly won’t be the one to stop you.

basil lemonade

Photo: Leigh Loftus

Fresh Basil Lemonade

Adapted from Food Network

What You Need:

2 cups sugar
6 cups water
2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 10 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves


1. Make simple syrup. Place 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool.

2. Place lemon juice in a large pitcher, add remaining 4 cups water and 1 cup of the simple syrup or more to taste. Stir in mint leaves and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve over ice.

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    August 21, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    So hot here today, made this with a peach cobbler and impressed everyone. Thanks for the great recipe!

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    Lovely Long Weekend – Gazelles On Crack
    July 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm

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  • Reply
    natalie (the sweets life)
    June 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    normally I’m not a huge lemonade fan but I love basil and this combination sounds fabulous!!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2011 at 7:59 am

    We made a strawberry basil lemonade not that long ago. Love the addition of herbs!

  • Reply
    Sawsan@chef in disguise
    June 27, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Basil lemonade sounds heavenly..
    will definetly try it soon as I have a basil bush threatening to takeover my kitchen

  • Reply
    Barbara @ Barbara Bakes
    June 26, 2011 at 9:28 am

    I’ve never been very good at making lemonade. I see the secret is making a simple syrup first. I’ll have to give it a try.

  • Reply
    June 26, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Geez, this is so simple and yet why dont more people think of adding some basil leaves to some homemade lemonade??? What a great thirst quencher, especially in summer!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    June 26, 2011 at 12:18 am

    Love how refreshing this sounds! I’ll have to save this for our summer months to come 🙂

  • Reply
    Dishes of Mrs. Fish
    June 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    This sounds so refreshing and perfect for summer entertaining!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Your post made me laugh; I am also not so good with the lemon to lemonade situation when dealing with life. However, this I may be able to handle! Looks so refreshing.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I planted so much basil this spring. With basil I feel you can never plant enough. I would love to try some in this lemonade!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    This would certainly quench my thrist Maris!!! Loving this version!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Great idea to use up all the basil from my garden! Love it!

  • Reply
    Sherilyn @ Wholepromise
    June 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    This looks and sounds so refreshing.

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    June 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I love your confidence in making lemonade and I just jotted down for tonight’s dinner as I have some guests coming over. Great timing! Never added basil, but I like it sounds a little fancier than regular lemonade. 😉

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Basil makes everything divine- I want a tall glass right away to kill this scorching heat.

  • Reply
    Sanjeeta kk
    June 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    This look so refreshing, have a similar recipe at my blog with mint 🙂 Glad to come here thru twitter.

  • Reply
    Nelly Rodriguez
    June 25, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Lovee this combination! Simple and looks sooo refreshing!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 10:17 am

    WOW… that sounds so refreshing..,.. lemon/basil mojitos later ?

  • Reply
    The Slow Roasted Italian
    June 25, 2011 at 10:10 am

    How absolutely wonderful. I have fresh basil and a few of the last lemons from my tree! Can’t wait to try this!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I’ve just finished making a pitcher of this. So far, so good! It is delicious.Doesn’t everyone have lemonade for breakfast? Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    June 25, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Your photos look darn good to me! Perfect summer refresher!!!!

  • Reply
    T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types
    June 25, 2011 at 5:52 am

    Looks wonderfully refreshing – I’m going to grab a handful of basil at the farm! (And, I’ll probably give the vodka a try!)

  • Reply
    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos
    June 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    i’ve heard so much about adding basil to drinks, but i haven’t tried it yet!!! this looks fabulous!

  • Reply
    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
    June 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Your photos are making me thirsty and you just gave me inspiration for my lime-thyme!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I think your photo is lovely:)

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    June 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    You know this is such a clever idea! Basil and Summer go together as well as lemonade and Summer! 😀

  • Reply
    The Harried Cook
    June 24, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    Yum! Sounds like some awesome flavors! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    OOOH….this sounds sooo good. At the risk of sounding like a boozer….I bet some vodka added would make a really good cocktail for our weekly “Cocktail Sunday”! I’ve bookmarked this…
    Have a great weekend Maris.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Ahhhh, lemonade. So summer so refreshing. I really love that you threw basil in this, would never think to do that!

    • Reply
      February 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      That’s a wise answer to a tricky quetison

  • Reply
    lisa @ smart food and fit
    June 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I always add mint to my drinks but I should try it with basil. I just planted some lemon verbana to give my drinks a different twist! Great combination!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    That sounds wonderful. I have so much mint, I’m always using that. I should take a break, or just make two different batches.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Another success! Flavored lemonade just takes it up a notch and makes it fancy — even for family.

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef
    June 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Awesome…that sounds so good!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    awesome drink on my to do list

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    This sounds so good right about now. Just checked the temperature and it’s 106 degrees outside!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Looks delicious, refreshing, and cooling!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Wish I had one right now

  • Reply
    EA-The Spicy RD
    June 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Oh, yum! I recently made strawberry lemonade. Very refreshing too. I’m sure a dash of vodka would be nice in either one 🙂

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I love the combination of lemon and basil. Homemade lemonade is so much better than the caloric store-bought lemonade with loads of sugar. Ha! Great suggestion to add a bit of vodka–I’m sure it would be delicious. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    So simple and refreshing! A dash of vodka wouldn’t hurt in there 😉

  • Reply
    The Waspy Redhead
    June 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    So refreshing on hot summer days!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I love home made lemonade with REAL lemons. Basil is an addition I must try!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    i have some meyer lemon juice that i stuck in the freezer this winter… and lemonade is a perfect use for it! love the basil addition 🙂

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Hah, we have the same post today! Mine is with mint!

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Perfect combination! I can’t wait to start getting fresh basil from our CSA so I can try this. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    nom nom! You know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually MADE lemonade without using a powder (gross, I know…). This sounds so refreshing

  • Reply
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga
    June 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Mmm, that sounds so refreshing!

  • Reply
    Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    June 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    LOVE basil – so i am certain i would love this too! And I love herbs so much I totally eat the leaves out of cocktails :). <– weirdo.

  • Reply
    June 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I love basil and lemon together. It’s so hot here right now, and this looks so refreshing.

  • Reply
    Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique
    June 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Basil + Lemonade. Love it!

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