Blueberry Basil Lemonade

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Anyone who has spent a summer in South Carolina knows that the heat and humidity can be brutal. We had a particularly hot weekend last week as I helped move my parents into their new house, and I needed something refreshing to quench our thirst after moving dozens of boxes in the heat.

…Enter blueberry basil lemonade. I am in LOVE with this drink. Nothing screams summer more than a glass of cold lemonade. Add fresh, local blueberries and basil from the garden, and you’ve got a unique summer drink. Add some vodka, and you’ve got a killer cocktail!

Lemonade is one of those nostalgic drinks that instantly takes me back to childhood. Growing up, I lived on a small cul-de-sac off of a busy highway. 2 of my best friends lived next door and we so desperately wanted to be like the other kids who lived in suburban neighborhoods and had lemonade stands. One hot summer day, we made homemade lemonade and put a sign up by the highway advertising our summer treat. We waited at the end of the cul-de-sac for several hours and we FINALLY got one lone customer who saw our sign from the highway. We were so ecstatic that we proceeded to rave about our successful business for the rest of the day. I’d like to think if we upgraded our lemonade stand to include this beautiful drink, we would have been sold out!

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There is something about slicing lemons that makes me feel so calm and clean. Whether I’m zesting or juicing them, the aroma of fresh lemons just puts me in a great mood. This lemonade in particular is quite possibly the best I’ve ever had. The basil gives it an extra layer of freshness and the blueberries give it a gorgeous color and natural sweetness.

A few things to note about this recipe: I like my lemonade on the tart side. I wrote the recipe using only 1/2 cup of simple syrup, but if you know you like it sweeter you may want to adjust that. I also like my lemonade with a LOT of ice, so I don’t water it down as much. You can certainly add more water if you feel like it’s too concentrated.

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Blueberry Basil Lemonade

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

8 large basil leaves

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup fresh blueberries

7 cups water

Directions:

  1. Make the basil simple syrup: In a small pot over medium heat, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup of water and stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves. Allow to steep for 10 minutes or so. Remove the leaves from the pot and set the simple syrup aside to cool slightly.
  2. Muddle the blackberries with a mortar and pestle and place in a large pitcher (If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, just smush them in a bowl to break them down and release their juices).
  3. Add the lemon juice, simple syrup, and 7 cups (or more, if desired) of water to the pitcher.
  4. Serve lemonade over ice and enjoy!

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