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Basil Lemonade Recipe

When life hands you lemons, add basil! This basil lemonade mixes tart and sweet for a refreshing summer drink with a herby kick.

This time of year, when my basil plants are going crazy, I find myself using it in just about everything – so why not lemonade? It’s a refreshing twist on a summer classic. The basil’s sweet, peppery notes play perfectly with the tart lemon, creating a drink that’s cool, complex, and perfect for hot days.

What do you need?

  • Fresh basil leaves – freshly harvested is best!
  • Lemons – Use freshly squeezed lemon juice – the bottled stuff is too bitter for making lemonade.
  • White sugar works best for a clean, sweet taste, but you could use brown sugar, or even honey.
  • Water – use plain water to make the syrup, but you can choose still or sparkling to make the lemonade.

First prepare the basil syrup

  1. Wash the basil, then and gently bruise the leaves by folding or scrunching them.
  2. Mix equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan, add the basil and bring the pot to a simmer.
  3. Stir the syrup frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is clear.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture to steep for 30 minutes. This allows the basil to infuse its flavor into the syrup.
  5. Strain or pick the basil leaves out, and allow the syrup to cool to room temperature.

Mixing Your Lemonade

Once you have the basil syrup, mixing the lemonade is as simple as combining the lemon juice, basil syrup and water, stirring well, and adjusting the flavor to your taste.

Variations and serving ideas

  • Garnish your basil lemonade with lemon slices and fresh basil leaves
  • Serve with herb ice cubes, or herb flower ice cubes
  • Add a handful of chopped strawberries or fresh blueberries
  • Make a boozy version for the adults by adding a shot of gin or vodka
Yield: 6 cups

Basil Lemonade

A glass of basil lemonade.

When life hands you lemons, add basil! This basil lemonade mixes tart and sweet for a refreshing summer drink with a herby kick.


For the syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup basil leaves

For the lemonade

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-5 cups of water (sparkling or still)


  1. Gently bruise the basil leaves, then add to a small saucepan with the sugar and the water for the syrup. Bring to a simmer, stir until the sugar is dissolved (approx 3 minutes).
  2. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Remove the basil leaves, squeezing as they are removed, and discard. Set the syrup aside to cool. 
  3. Add the lemon juice and the lemons and add to a large pitcher with the water for the lemonade. Add basil syrup to taste, and stir to combine.
  4. Serve over ice.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 164Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 0gSugar: 41gProtein: 0g

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