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).
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.
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.
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.
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.