I love lemonade, but hate how sugary most of the bottled versions are. When I want lemonade, I actually want to taste the tartness of lemons, gosh darn it!
Of course, I may like it just a tad bit more tart than most people, so be prepared. When I was younger, I used to pick lemons off of the lemon tree in our front yard and walk around the house sucking on the lemon. No sugar or sweetener added, just pure lemon. What a snack!
But since this was for a
failed fun picnic and all, I wanted to dress up the usual homemade lemonade just a bit. We got some gorgeous cherries in our CSA box this week so my original plan was to make a cherry basil lemonade, but I promptly ate them all before I got around to making the lemonade. Oops! When I went to the store to buy replacements, local organic strawberries happened to be on sale, so I decided to go with the cheaper, equally tasty option.
The strawberry basil syrup for this follows the recipe for the strawberry lime sangria almost exactly. You boil the strawberries with a little sugar and water and then let simmer until it begins to thicken.
To get the hint of basil, you then remove the strawberry syrup from the heat, add the basil leaves, and let cool for about 1 hour.
Simply strain, and you’re left with the infusion of basil without the yucky browning leaves!
We floated a bit of spiced rum on the top of our lemonade for the picnic. It would also be great with a little citron or regular vodka as well.
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Makes about 40 fluid ounces (6 glasses)
12 lemons, juiced
5 cups cold water
2 tablespoons sugar
For the strawberry basil syrup:
1 pound strawberries, trimmed and halved
1/2 cup basil
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
Combine the lemon juice, sugar, and water in a pitcher and stir until the sugar dissolves.
In a large saucepan, combine the halved strawberries in a saucepan with 1/3 cup sugar and a 1/4 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to thicken a bit, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
Then, using a fine strainer, strain the strawberries over a bowl to extract the syrup.
Add the strawberry basil syrup to the lemonade and mix well.
Time: 70 minutes (at least 2-3 hours of chill time, preferably over night)