Honey Basil Lemonade

It is hot. Really hot. All I want to do is sit in a cool room and sip on an ice-cold beverage and maybe take a nap.

Seltzer is my go-to drink. I drink it by the gallon. It’s not too exciting but does the trick and with zero calories. In the summer heat, I like to step up my liquid consumption and get a bit giddy about all my cool summer beverage options. It’s hard to choose, so I like to keep a selection on hand.

Homemade lemonades and limeades are some of my favorite summer thirst quenchers. They are far superior to anything you can buy ready-made, especially if you tend to grab the artificially flavored powdered stuff off a shelf.

With homemade citrus drinks, there is that pesky matter of getting the juice out of the fruit. There are several tools that can help make quick work of the task. On the high-end, there are electric juicers. I’ve never used one, but I’m sure they juice beautifully.

On the low-end, there are wooden lemon reamers. This is one of my favorite tools. It’s effective, takes up little space and is cheap, three qualities I look for in kitchen gear.

There are two tricks to getting the most juice out of citrus. First, use room temperature fruit. A slightly warm lime will yield more juice than an icebox cold one. Second, before cutting the fruit, press down firmly on the it and roll it under your palm on a hard surface like a kitchen counter. This breaks down the interior membranes of the lime, which will release more of the juice.

I like to keep one and two-quart mason jars around for summer drinks. A nice pitcher also works, but they tend to take up too much room in our over-crowded refrigerator. With mason jars, I can have a jar of lemonade, limeade, iced tea and horchata and still have room for the eggs!

Drink up and stay cool!

Honey Basil Lemonade
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that basil has been making its way into fancy cocktails these days. I decided to try a version sans alcohol.

Ingredients
1/3 cup honey
1 cup hot water plus cold water
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)

Method

  • In a small bowl combine the honey and hot water and stir until the honey is dissolved, let cool.
  • In a 1-quart jar or pitcher, add basil leaves and muddle (or crush) them with a wooden spoon or muddler. This will release the basil’s oil.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and honey mixture. Fill jar or pitcher with water.
  • Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight (the longer it steeps, the stronger the basil flavor). Strain and pour into ice-filled glasses.

Serves 2-4.