Friday, April 29, 2016

Basil Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes

Interesting and refreshing, this Basil Lemonade with Blueberry Ice Cubes is delicious and perfect all Summer long!

One of my favorite ways to liven up drinking water is to muddle/mash lemon slices, herbs, and fruits, especially berries, into it. I've spent many summers drinking these earthy concoctions. This lemonade is based off of that drink but sweetened and steeped to have much more flavor.  

I think the key to a perfect lemonade is to make a simple syrup. It ensures that your lemonade won't be grainy. It's a extra step, but completely worth it. It is essential to this basil lemonade. The flavor of the basil and lemon peel steeps in to the simple syrup and flavors the whole drink. The smell of the hot simple syrup mixing with the basil and lemon peel is absolutely intoxicating. 

When I first started making this lemonade, I'd use jarred pure blueberry juice, found at my local market, for the ice cubes. However, I'm not sure everyone would be able to find it and it's pretty expensive. To achieve the same effect, I blend blueberries, water, and extra lemon zest. You can also just add in frozen blueberries right into the lemonade or dot regular ice cubes with them before freezing!

We love the addition of the blueberry ice cubes. They have a intense blueberry lemon flavor that makes this lemonade even better. They slowly melt into the lemonade adding a slight thickness, almost slushy texture and turn the drink a gorgeous dark purple. Any extra blueberry mixture is a great afternoon pick me up. It's super tart and intensely flavored. Use whatever fruits you love. Strawberries and blackberries are especially delicious with this basil lemonade!

*The basil and lemon peel is to be steeped in the hot simple syrup. You can either zest the lemon or peel it with a vegetable peeler. Just be careful because the lemon can be very slippery when being peeled with the peeler.  

Basil Lemonade
  • 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups white granulated sugar 
  • 1 cup lemon juice 
  • 1 lemon, zested (peeled)*
  • 5 to 6 cups cold water, divided 
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Blueberry Ice Cubes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed completely with juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
Add blueberries, water, lemon zest, and lemon juice to a blender. Blend on high until smooth. Strain the seeds through a sieve then pour the liquid into a ice cube tray or two (depends on the tray you use) and put in the freezer until frozen. 

Add basil and lemon peel to a heat-proof glass bowl and bruise/mash with a large spoon. Set aside. 

In a saucepan, add sugar and 2 cups of water and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn off heat. Pour the hot simple syrup over the fresh basil and lemon peel in the bowl. Then cover, if you'd like, and move to the refrigerator to be chilled. I prefer to chill it overnight for a intense flavor.

After chilled, strain the simple syrup into a pitcher. Discard basil and lemon peel. Add lemon juice and remaining 3 to 4 cups water and stir to combine. Put in the refrigerator until really cold and ready to serve.

To serve, pop a few blueberry ice cubes into serving glasses. Pour in lemonade and enjoy!

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