Basil lemonade is a light and refreshing summer beverage that's made with fresh squeezed lemon juice and basil-infused simple syrup. Perfect for keeping cool next time you fire up the grill!
There's nothing more refreshing than an ice-cold lemonade (or honey limeade) on a hot summer day. Plus, it's a great way to use up all that summer garden basil!
Never made homemade lemonade before? It's easier than you think. All you need are three ingredients to get started: lemons, fresh basil, and granulated sugar.
Serve basil lemonade this summer - it's perfect for weekend grilling, barbecues, and lounging poolside. Pair it with grilled lemon pepper chicken sandwiches and grilled vegetable skewers for a complete summer meal.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Granulated sugar - We're using granulated sugar to make a basil-infused simple syrup. I haven't tested this recipe with sugar substitutes, so I can't say for sure how the recipe would turn out with alternatives.
- Basil leaves - You'll need one cup packed tightly with fresh basil leaves. Basil could also be substituted with fresh mint for a different flavor. Or, try my recipe for pineapple mint lemonade! Basil can also be omitted entirely to make a classic lemonade.
- Lemons - Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds superior flavor to homemade lemonade. While this recipe will technically work with bottled lemon juice, it will not taste as bright or fresh. Lemons can also be substituted with limes to make basil limeade.
Tips and tricks
- Room temperature lemons are easier to squeeze and release more juice than cold lemons. If your lemons are refrigerated, allow them to come to room temperature before squeezing. To warm up lemons quickly, fill a bowl with warm water and submerge your lemons. After about 30 minutes, they'll be ready to squeeze.
- Using your palm, roll each lemon on the countertop before slicing and squeezing. This helps loosen the juices from the flesh of the lemon.
- Use a handheld lemon juicer or citrus juicing machine to get the most juice from your lemons.
- Strain lemon juice to remove excess pulp and seeds.
- Muddle basil leaves lightly with a wooden spoon while stirring to release flavor into the simple syrup.
- Make your lemonade a few hours ahead of serving and allow to chill in the refrigerator for best flavor. Otherwise, adding ice to warm lemonade can dilute the flavor.
How long does homemade lemonade last? Lemonade will keep for about 3 to 4 days stored in the refrigerator, but flavor is best within about a day of preparing. Flavor and quality continue to decrease each day.
Want to make a batch of basil lemonade concentrate to freeze for later? Prepare the lemon juice and simple syrup as directed, omitting the listed water.
Freeze basil lemonade concentrate in a freezer-safe container for three months or more. To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight, or transfer to the countertop to thaw for several hours. Add water to your concentrate, stir, and serve.
- 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
- 6 cups (1360 g) water, divided
- 1 cup (25 g) basil leaves, packed
- 1 cup (226 g) fresh squeezed lemon juice
- In a saucepan over medium heat, add granulated sugar, one cup of water, and basil leaves. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Lightly muddle basil leaves with a wooden spoon. Simmer for one minute, then remove from heat. Allow to steep until room temperature, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add remaining five cups of water and lemon juice to a pitcher.
- When cooled, pour simple syrup mixture through a sieve to remove basil leaves. Stir simple syrup into lemon mixture to achieve desired sweetness. Use all of the simple syrup for a sweet lemonade. Use about ¾ for a lightly sweetened lemonade.
- Refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice and enjoy.
- 1 cup of lemon juice will take about 6 to 8 lemons, but depends entirely on the size and juiciness of your lemons. Buy a few extra to be on the safe side. If you have extras, slice and use as a garnish for your glasses.
- Basil lemonade will keep for about 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator, and flavor is best when served the same day.