In Our Cups: Sparkling Basil Lemonade

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Lemonade 2

Whew!  It’s hot.  I’ve spent the last few days carrying boxes and moving out of my house in Lexington…and into my parents’ house across town.  All of my stuff is in their garage for the next three weeks until I can close on my new house in Pennsylvania.  Then we get to do the moving thing all over again.  Yippee!  Turns out, I have a lot of stuff.

Lemonade 4

After moving all day yesterday, we were ready for a crisp and cool drink.  Sparkling lemonade fit the bill perfectly.  But I didn’t want just any lemonade: I wanted something with a summer twist.  My mom has a big pot of basil on her back porch, so I decided to infuse the drink with basil.

At first, I thought about steeping basil in the simple syrup, but Laura suggested that I muddle the leaves in the bottom of the pitcher.  It was a great suggestion, and the resulting lemonade was basiley, sparkly, and refreshing.

Lemonade 3

 

Sparkling Basil Lemonade

Serves 4

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
12 basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 cup ice
3/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed  and chilled (or 2/3 cup store-bought lemon juice)
3 cups sparkling water, chilled

 

1. In a small saucepan, make a simple syrup: Heat the water and sugar to a simmer, stir until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is clear. Place the syrup in the refrigerator (or freezer if you’re in a hurry) until cold, up to an hour or two.

2. Add the syrup to a pitcher, along with the lemon juice, basil leaves, and ice. With a wooden spoon, muddle the leaves until they’re bruised. Add the sparkling water. Garnish with basil sprigs or lemon wedges, if desired. Serve right away.