There are few drinks I love more than lemonade. I try and drink as much water as possible throughout the day and I hardly ever drink soda, but I always find myself craving a lemonade in the afternoon. Newman’s Pink Lemonade is a staple in our refrigerator, but every once in a while I like to make my own. As much as I try to channel my inner Ina Garten I can’t seem to bring myself to squeeze lemons every other day, so I reserve making my own lemonade for the weekends or parties. When I was in Italy a few summers ago I had the most amazing sparkling lemonade at an outdoor cafe. Obviously they have sparkling lemonade all over, but I have never been able to find one as crisp as that so I decided to try and recreate it at home and included a layer of fresh basil for more flavor.
Sparkling Basil Lemonade Recipe
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4 – 6 lemons)
1 cup tonic water (I use this elderflower flavored version)
1 cup water (for the mixture)
1/2 cup thinly chopped basil leaves
1/2 tsp lemon zest
I have found the key to making a great lemonade is to make a quality simple syrup at the beginning. Definitely don’t skip that step because the lemonade will end up tasting tart and flat.
Step 1: Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan on simmer. Mix until the sugar completely dissolves into the water then remove from heat.
Step 2: While the sugar is dissolving you can juice your lemons. I don’t have fancy juicer so I just use a handheld version which works great.
Step 3: Once you have juiced all the lemons combine the sugar water, lemon juice and tonic into a pitcher. Top with the 2 cups of cold water to dilute the bitterness. Make sure to taste at this step and add more water if it is still too strong. Add the chopped up basil and stir until everything is mixed up. Refrigerate until chilled.
Step 4: Once chilled pour into pretty glasses (or lets be real any old glass will do) and top with a fresh basil leaf!
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