Basil Lemonade Recipe

Basil Lemonade

The Spruce Eats / Morgan Baker

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 5 mins
Cool: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 6 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
139 Calories
0g Fat
36g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 139
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 22mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 34g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 9mg 46%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 69mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Whether you're an avid gardener or have a black thumb, one thing is for sure, summer is bursting with fresh basil. Often thought of as a savory herb, this bright green, aromatic addition can actually be used in sweet applications as well. For example, Strawberry Basil Sorbet, Basil Rosemary Orange Shandy, and this delicious lemonade.

This basil lemonade recipe is the perfect canvas for a boozy treat. Try adding a splash of bourbon, vodka, or gin. You could even set up your own spiked lemonade bar at a backyard barbecue for guests to pick and choose how they prefer their refreshing treat. Add extra citrus—like limes, oranges, or grapefruit, or whole fruits like strawberries, peaches, or pineapple. This would be the perfect thing to sip while catching up with friends and grilling something delicious like Grilled Tarragon Chicken Breast or Grilled Shrimp with Garlic Butter Dipping Sauce.

“This lemonade is delicious, super refreshing, and fun to make! Basil and lemon pair beautifully together and I love that it’s not overly sweet. Feel free to mix a little bit of honey into your drink for added flavor and sweetness.” —Bahareh Niati

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup firmly packed basil leaves, plus optional leaves for garnish

  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 to 2 lemons)

  • 6 cups water, divided

  • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 5 lemons)

  • 4 to 6 slices lemon, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium saucepan, muddle the sugar, basil, and lemon zest until the flavors are released, about one minute.

  3. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  4. Strain the mixture into a large pitcher. Add the remaining 4 cups of cold water and lemon juice. Stir well.

  5. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh basil and lemon slices.

Tip

The trick with this recipe is to muddle the basil and sugar together really well. This will release the natural oils in the basil, adding a perfectly intense smell and flavor to the sugar that will then become the simple syrup for the lemonade.

Recipe Variation

If you're short on time or don't feel like juicing all those lemons, you can easily find pure lemon juice in most grocery stores and this will suffice. However, be mindful when purchasing and make sure to double-check there is no added sugar. If you like extra sweet lemonade, it might be okay for you to purchase with added sugar, but if not, you'll want to get 100% pure lemon juice.

Make it even more green!

Instead of using sugar, consider using agave or honey and blend all of the simple syrup ingredients in a high-speed blender; strain and combine with 4 cups cold water and lemon juice. The final product will be verdant green.

How to Store

Store this lemonade in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to seven days. Shake well before serving over ice.

Does basil go in drinks?

Basil absolutely goes in drinks. You can muddle it with sugar, mix it into frozen margaritas, or use it for garnish along with other herbs like mint or sage. For an extra beautiful visual, garnish with flowering basil.