Recipes / Sips & Syrups

Lemon-Basil Syrup

Lemon-basil syrup

This refreshing syrup is one of my summer stand-bys.

There’s nothing more satisfying than coming in after a hot and heavy day in the garden, cranking the SodaStream, and filling an icy tall glass with lemon and basil-infused soda. (My guy prefers it with gin during our home happy hours.)

Whether you like it boozy or straight, you can flavor many different concoctions with this syrup — from lemon drops and gimlets to iced tea and lemonade, ice pops and ice cubes to smoothies and fruit salads.

I used a medley of basil from my garden, which made a nice, complex herbal infusion. You can experiment with different types of basil depending on the flavor you’re going for, whether it be sweet (Genovese or Mammoth) or spicy (Thai, Cinnamon, or Spicy Globe).

Lemon-Basil Syrup

Makes 4 cups


4 cups (or big handfuls) packed fresh basil
3 cups sugar
4 cups water
2 lemons, halved crosswise


No need to pick basil leaves individually. I use entire stems, including the flowers.

A medley of basil from the garden

In a medium pot, combine the basil, sugar and water. Squeeze the juice out of both lemon halves into the pot, and throw in the lemon rinds as well. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Squeeze juice out of lemon halves and add lemons to mixture

Remove the pot from heat and cover with a lid. Let the syrup stand at room temperature for about an hour until the flavors are well infused.

Strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve, making sure to press on the basil and lemons with a spoon to really get all the juices out.

Strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve

If you used purple basil in the infusion, your syrup will have a beautiful blush tint.

The syrup amount will fit perfectly into a quart-sized mason jar. Kept in the refrigerator, it should last up to two weeks.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »