In case you didn’t know, I don’t drink alcohol, and not just because I’m pregnant. It’s something that my husband and I have decided that we don’t do. and don’t worry, I’m not judging anyone that has decided to drink, I promise I’m not, and I won’t.
Most of the time I really don’t care that I’m left out of the drinking circles. I can go to a party and have a Dr. Pepper, I can wind down at night with some camomile tea, and I can celebrate the incoming New Year with a bottle of Sparkling juice. But that’s about where my celebratory drink list comes to an end.
For our anniversary, Matthew and I went out to eat at Michael Symon’s restaurant Lola. Everything was lovely, the food, the service, the ambiance, but when we inquired what kind of non alcoholic beverages there were, this list was soda, pop, or coke whatever you call it.
I’m not trying to single out Lola’s, they aren’t alone. Perhaps there isn’t a lot of money to be made in having mocktails available, but for us non-drinkers out there, when we go out to celebrate, it would defiantly add to the experience to have that as an option.
I’ve decided that instead of whining about it, I’m just going to make up my own drinks for my dinner parties, and this Strawberry Basil Lemonade is one of my first. I’m sure there is some kind of booze you could add that would take it up a few notches, but for the rest of us (and your kids) it’s the perfect way to add a little something extra to your summer celebrations with a perfect blend of sweet from the strawberries, tang from the lemons, and a refreshing aromatic blast of basil taking this drink from basic, to something really special.
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
1/2 cup water
1 cup of basil leaves and stems
1 lb starwberries (if using frozen, make sure they are thawed) stems removed
1 cup lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
2-3 cups of water or club soda
First you want to make your basil syrup*. In a small sauce pan, combined sugar and water and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling and the sugar has desolved, remove from the heat, and add the fresh basil.
This is the hardest part… steep the basil in the water and sugar mixture for 35-40 minutes. I hate waiting.
In a blender or food processor, blend your strawberries, until they are a juice. Strain the strawberry juice to remove the seeds.
You probably won’t get all of the seeds out, but at least the biggest bits will be out of the way.
Juice your lemons, and again strain out any seeds.
Once the basil is done steeping, remove the leaves. In a pitcher, combined the basil syrup, the lemon juice, and the strained strawberry juice. Then add your water or club soda to taste. Club soda will obviously make this a fizzy drink while water (which is just as delicious) will make it closer to a classic lemonade. Serve over ice, or allow to chill for 2 hours before serving. I don’t like to have mine over ice as it dilutes the flavor.
Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
*the basil syrup is something you could use for a variety of things. Drinks, add it to powdered sugar for a delicious drizzle over a lemon cake, or use it as a syrup over pancakes with strawberries. It gives a new flavor dimension to your summer sweets.