Basil Mint Lemonade

Basil Mint Lemonade Recipe

It's already the end of the summer and I've been making every effort to get the best use out of the leftover mint and basil in my herb garden. With the basil, I've made a lot of pesto that I store in the freezer for the winter. There isn't enough left for an additional sauce, and I've always wanted to try a basil infused drink, so today I made a basil lemonade, basil limeade, to be more precise. Sweet basil can be a bit subtle, so I wanted to pair it with another herb to give the drink some kick.

Mint immediately came to mind. I've made drinks all summer using the different kinds of mint we have, including spearmint, peppermint, Vietnamese mint, and apple-mint. I still, however, have a lot of leftover chocolate mint in the garden. Lulu planted it for me a few years ago and it's been growing literally like weeds. It's not as strong as the other mint varieties, so it complements the basil in the limeade I made today without overpowering it. It may sound odd, but it's a really fun, beautiful and delicious drink.

I wish I had tooken the main picture but it is not mine. It was taken by a brilliant photographer named Ken Phuong. He's currently shooting with a team of photographers in the Bay Area.

how to make basil-mint limeade


Yields: 7 cups

1-1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups sweet basil leaves, tightly packed
1-1/2 cups chocolate mint leaves, tightly packed
1-1/2 quarts water
6 limes
1 pinch salt
4 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 drop yellow food coloring (optional)
1 quart ice cubes


For the simple syrup: In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a near boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely. Add the vanilla extract.

For the limes: Zest and juice the limes. This should yield a bit more than a cup of lime juice. Set aside.

Keeping the herbs green: Wash the basil and mint leaves. Quickly blanch them for about 10 seconds in boiling salted water and transfer to an ice bath, to maintain a bright green color. Drain thoroughly of all water. Coarsely chop the herbs. In a blender or a mini-blender if you have one, blend the basil and mint with 1/4 cup of water. Add up to 1/4 cup of water if the blender doesn't flow smoothly. Set aside.

For the basil-mint syrup:
Transfer the green mixture into the cold simple syrup.

Assembly time: Combine the basil-mint syrup, lime zest and lime juice. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve. Dissolve the syrup with the remaining water. Add the green and yellow food colorings.

Serve over ice in martini glasses; stir and enjoy with green cookies. Garnish with fresh sprigs of chocolate mint and sweet basil.



I prefer using superfine sugar. It's fine-grained sugar and it dissolves much more quickly than regular granulated sugar.

Blanching the herbs helps ensure that very appetizing bright green color for the drink. It's also important that you let the syrup cool completely before adding to the herb mixture.

Blaching the herbs in salted water (a pinch is enough) helps maintain a green color.

I added a few drops of food coloring to accentuate the color of the drink.

I added vanilla extract but you can add your own taste, such as mango extract, cherry extract, rose water, orange blossom water or even banana extract. Be creative! You can find a lot of these flavorings in Indian and Asian stores.

If you don't have chocolate mint, you can always use regular mint or even Vietnamese mint for its stronger taste.

How to make basil-min lemonade

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Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 24, 2009.


[-] Basil Mint Lemonade - Guest-LorraineNotQuiteNigella
Gorgeous photos Jackie! I especially love the "action" shot and the one in the light showing off the gorgeous colour! :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella Website Link
[ Posted at 3:46 AM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] your photo - Guest-JessicaFoodmayhem
Tha action shot is cool but I really love your photos too. They're something very lively and festive about them that makes me want to party!

Jessica Lee Binder Website Link
[ Posted at 6:13 AM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil Mint Lemonade - Guest-Errin
It is so almost Friday and I am so excited to try this. YUM.

Also, I responded to your question about your home grown cacti in the comments section of that post. I hope cooking with it goes well! I am always jealous of all those things you Californians can grow right in your back yard.

Errin Website Link
[ Posted at 11:02 AM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] refreshing! - Guest-sophia113
Oh wow. What a cool, refreshing, breath-taking drink! No pun intended! ;-)

sophia Website Link
[ Posted at 11:17 AM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Beautiful! - Guest-DanaZia
I actually think your pictures are better than the first one! His looks like Listerine or something, yours looks like a drink I would partake in. Thanks for the great recipe!

Dana Zia Website Link
[ Posted at 2:06 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Highlands Ranch Foodie - Guest-LeaAnn
Ken's picture is great, but your's is beautiful too. This sounds so good and refreshing. Love the idea. Will Try.

Lea Ann Website Link
[ Posted at 3:35 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] unconfidentialcook - Guest-unconfidentialcook
So what, his made a splash...your pictures are beautiful, and the lemonade sounds perfect (it's 100 degrees here).

unconfidentialcook Website Link
[ Posted at 4:45 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil lemonade - Guest-Velva
Absolutely beautiful! What a great way to use summer basil!!! This drink looks so fresh tasting.

Velva Website Link
[ Posted at 4:54 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil Mint Lemonade - Guest-Kim
Yum! Another great use for my basil! This looks so refreshing! :P

theUngourmet Website Link
[ Posted at 5:16 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil - Guest-DorothyStahlnecker
emmm another great reciped they look so good..

Dorothy from grammology

Dorothy Stahnecker Website Link
[ Posted at 5:31 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] What a spectacular photo!! - Guest-GeraSweetsFoods
What a spectacular photo!!! Really is a refreshing lemonade ideal for the hot days will come here :)



Gera @ SweetsFoods Website Link
[ Posted at 5:58 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil - Guest-Danielle
This drink would be perfect for a party, I love mint refreshers and I'm sure basil would give it a unique taste too - thanks for sharing!

Danielle Website Link
[ Posted at 6:32 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil Mint Lemonade - Guest-Lisa
You may not have taken the main photo, but your photo is just as gorgeous! I cannot tell you how refreshing and delicious that limeade looks! I would have never thought of incorporating basil into a lime beverage, but it totally fits and is brilliant, along with the mint! You are one talented and creative chicky!

Lisa Website Link
[ Posted at 8:23 PM on 9/24/09 | Reply ]
[-] Delicious - Guest-AngeliaMcGowan
What a great drink recipe, I love all the pictures, nut the one at the top is outstanding!

Southern Grace gourmet Website Link
[ Posted at 4:34 AM on 9/25/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basil Mint Lemonade - Guest-gaga
Those pictures are great! What a beautiful drink.

gaga Website Link
[ Posted at 11:53 PM on 9/25/09 | Reply ]
[-] Beautiful - Guest-AmandaFormaro
That's beautiful Jackie! I made a lemonade with limes, lemons and basil and was really surprised at how wonderful it was. I bet the addition of mint was great :)

Amanda Formaro Website Link
[ Posted at 7:45 AM on 9/27/09 | Reply ]
[-] heaven in a glass - Guest-OysterCulture
I love this flavor combination and this just looks incredibly refreshing

OysterCulture Website Link
[ Posted at 7:55 AM on 10/1/09 | Reply ]
[-] Basilcello - Guest-Lydia
This drink sounds tasty and will be a great way to use up some of the Basilcello I have stashed in my freezer. Interestingly, the Basilcello (basil liquer) is bright green on its own, so no need for food coloring (yay!). Just steep the basil leaves in grain alcohol for a few weeks and combine with sugar syrup to your liking. Yummy drizzled over vanilla ice cream, too!

Lydia Website Link
[ Posted at 7:15 AM on 10/31/09 | Reply ]

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