Purple Basil Lemonade
In this recipe, basil is crushed with sugar to release the oils. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, process the basil, sugar, and about 1/4 cup of the water in a food processor or blender.
Yield: 4 servings
4 cups water - 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice - 1/2 cup loosely packed purple basil leaves (about 1/4 ounce) - 6 tablespoons sugar - 4 cups ice - 4 purple basil sprigs
Combine 4 cups water and juice in a large bowl. Place 1/2 cup basil and sugar in a mortar; pound with pestle until a paste forms. Add sugar mixture to juice mixture; stir until sugar dissolves. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Place 1 cup ice in each of 4 glasses. Pour about 1 cup lemonade into each glass; garnish each serving with 1 basil sprig.
(recipe courtesy of Cooking Light)
Vodka Thyme Lemonade
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients: 2 cups sugar - 12 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish -4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 24 lemons -2 cups vodka
- In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups water with the sugar and thyme; bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.
- Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup; discard thyme. You should have 2 cups syrup. Cover with plastic; chill.
- In a large serving pitcher, stir together lemon juice, vodka, and chilled syrup; garnish with thyme. Divide evenly among eight tumblers filled with ice; serve immediately.
This is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to make your event look elegant. Slice lemons, limes, and oranges into your lemonade and be sure to include large sprigs of the herbs you are incorporating to give it a punch of color.
Whichever recipe you choose, always make sure that the alcoholic versions are clearly marked and that there are non-alcoholic versions available.