Fresh Basil Lemonade

Fresh Basil Lemonade - Start with fresh squeezed lemon juice, add a basil simple syrup and water and then enjoy! Perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day!


Fresh Basil Lemonade

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A few weeks ago my dad called me.

“Heya, you want some canning jars?!”

I was pretty sure that there was some ulterior motive there, but since I do plan on doing more canning this year, I accepted. I figured it would save me a few bucks.

When I picked up the jars from my sister’s house two weeks ago, I realized that my dad and I have very different definitions of the word “some.”  To me, some means a few dozen.

To my dad, some means anywhere between 400 and a million.

I am up to my ears in mason jars now and am getting creative out of necessity. I’m using them as glasses, in place of Tupperware, and even contemplated creating an artsy-fartsy spice storing situation with them.

At the end of the day though, I’m probably going to give at least half of them away and still be left with more than I know what to do with.

Thanks Pops!

Anyway, one actually useful way I started using these bad boys is to transport drinks like this Fresh Basil Lemonade during picnics and stuff.  Basically, you can mix up individual drinks and slap on the lids and then keep them chilled in a cooler until needed. Of course, you could put almost any drink in these and it if happened to have booze in it, that would probably be okay.


Basil Lemonade

Start with fresh squeezed lemon juice, add a basil simple syrup and water and then enjoy! Perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day!
4.41 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 4 drinks


Basil Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • 6-8 big slices of lemon peel

Basil Lemonade:

  • 1 part basil simple syrup
  • 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 part water


  • Add sugar and water in a medium pot along with basil and lemon rind.
  • Bring to a simmer and stir to make sure sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature which will take probably 20-30 minutes.
  • Juice fresh lemons. 1 big lemon will give you about 1/4-1/3 cup of juice so plan accordingly.
  • To make a lemonade, combine 1/2 cup of simple syrup with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/2 cup water. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh basil leaves.


Serving: 1drinkCalories: 228kcalCarbohydrates: 59gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.01gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.003gSodium: 2mgPotassium: 10mgFiber: 0.05gSugar: 59gVitamin A: 158IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 0.1mg
Keyword Basil Drinks, Homemade Lemonade, Lemonade

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Fresh Basil Lemonade

The Syrup

Homemade lemonade in the summer is kind of romantic, but it’s dumb simple to make. It can have as little as three ingredients (including water). If you want to get fancy pants you could up the ingredient list to four and add some fresh herbs.

Basil works awesomely, but mint would be equally good.

basics for Fresh Basil Lemonade
All you need.

The trick to making the lemonade have a basil flavor without mashing up actual basil for each drink (and therefore ruining the clean color) is to make a simple syrup with the basil.

When I’m making simple syrups for alcoholic drinks I usually start with about a 1:1 ratio for simple syrup (water and sugar), but I wanted this one to be a bit lighter so I did two parts water to one part sugar.

Two cups of water and one cup of sugar worked great. I tossed about 1/2 cup of fresh basil straight into the pot and a few big chunks of lemon rind just for good measure.

syrup stuff - Fresh Basil Lemonade
Easy stuff.

Bring this to a simmer and stir it to make sure all the sugar is dissolved.  Then remove it from the heat, cover it, and let it cool to room temperature.  This will give plenty of time for the basil to infuse into the syrup. It should take 20-30 minutes for it to cool down.

If you wanted to make this in advance you could stick it in your fridge and it would keep for a week or two at this point.

syrup fro Fresh Basil Lemonade
Lemonade or cocktail ready.

As you can see from the color, our syrup has definitely been infused with some basil and lemon essence.

This stuff isn’t the most attractive color, but it’s super-flavorful which is all you should be concerned with at this point!

finished syrup for Fresh Basil Lemonade
Maybe not the best color…

Making the Fresh Basil Lemonade

If you go through the trouble of making a simple syrup, also go through the trouble of squeezing fresh lemons. There’s just nothing that compares to fresh-squeezed juice.

If you are squeezing your juice out of a plastic lemon, don’t tell people you got the idea from my website please.

fresh lemon juice for Fresh Basil Lemonade
Fresh squeezed!

A good drink for me is 1/2 cup of the simple syrup, 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 cup of water served over a lot of ice and garnished with some fresh basil leaves.

An even better drink is the above plus a shot or two of gin.

Fresh Basil Lemonade recipe
You do not have to serve it in a mason jar…

This Fresh Basil Lemonade is simple to make and crushes the summer heat.

In return for introducing you all to it, I expect you to comment and tell me what to do with all of these freakin’ mason jars.

34 Responses to “Fresh Basil Lemonade” Leave a comment

  1. Storage is a good idea, especially for spices. I like to put flowers or candles/lights in mine.

    Your post was successful, I want some of this lemonade now.

  2. you had me at basil. this looks delish. I’m sure pinterest has a wealth of knowledge to craft with mason jars. they’d probably be great to give gifts in as well!

  3. Boy I love to use mason/ball jars in the pantry. They are great for storing nuts, pasta, brown sugar, beans, rice…you name it! Don’t have to wonder what is in there or how much and they store things so nicely because of the grea seal!

  4. Oh and I also can’t wait to try this lemonade- going to make a batch for a beach outing this weekend, I have a feeling I better make a big batch!!

  5. Mason jars are good for dry-good storage. Use them to store dry beans, chickpeas, lentils, rice, pasta, whole spices, etc.

  6. Did you grow up canning? Your Dad’s offering the Mason jars intrigued me!

    Ah, Mason jars — a weakness of mine. I have a tiny kitchen with little upper cabinetry, so we have a tier of open shelves, filled with Mason jars with — as your readers have already mentioned — spices, beans, lentils, rices, sugars, seeds, pastas, herbs, wait — let me go check — nuts, dried fruit, every kind of grain, “and so on.”

    I don’t like packaging, so to be able to see those shelves lined with pretty colors and textures in their natural state is a real thrill for me — every day!

    But I do use the jars for another very pretty purpose — they are great candle holders, esp in breezy conditions, outdoors. Up and down the stairs or along a walk. Keep them away from the little rascals if you’re having a party, but for adult parties, people behave fairly well around them.

    Have fun!

  7. Mason jar giveaway! Or replace every storage container you have for kitchen stuff (and otherwise) with mason jars.

  8. Count yourself lucky with the jars; they cost a fortune here in Louisiana (even at yard sales).

    I cannot wait to try your lemonade recipe (with fresh mint instead of basil–Mom has an acre of it)! Thanks!

  9. Nick – If you don’t have one already, go get yourself a pinterest account. It’s a whole world of Mason Jar fun!

    One of the best Mason Jar uses I’ve seen there is the “salad in a jar” for those of us who need our salads to travel. The gist is that you can make a week’s worth of salads in one go by building them in jars. Dressing at the bottom, and then layer your ingredients. As long as you put something sturdy in the dressing at the bottom (cherry tomatoes, chick peas, etc.) and keep the lettuce up top and away from the dressing, everything will stay fresh and lovely for up to a week. Here’s a good example:

    I’d love to see you riffing on the “lunch in jars” theme.

    Thanks for all the great posts!

    1. I love it! Good call on Pinterest… there are lots of ideas on there.

      I also learned how to braid hair in interesting ways. :)

      1. yes, and boil down any object, concept or piece of media into a manicure.

  10. I make and store salad dressing in mason jars. Throw everything in, put on the lid and shake vigorously. I also have a food saver with a jar attachment and vacuum pack all sorts of things in my mason jars.

  11. First of all, I just wanted to say I’m a huge fan and you’re one of the first food bloggers I started following. You really inspire me and I look forward to your posts every day. Second, I’m obsessed with this recipe and can’t wait to try it! Third, I myself recently acquired a significant number of mason jars without meaning to, and I’ve found that you can use them for party favors/gifts. Here are a few ideas:

  12. I had basil lemonade for the first time at a touristy beach town in Panama last summer and I’m hooked (and I wan’t to go back)! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

    Thanks to all the other readers who posted really fun and useful suggestions for mason jars – I don’t have any, but I would probably go buy some just to carry out some of the ideas! Also, I do hope you post some canning recipes this summer, I’d really like to get into it (but also avoid botulism). Looking forward to it! Thanks!

  13. I use it as a “shaker” to make salad dressing in. Perfectly emulsifies oil and vinegar combinations.

  14. This looks delicious — I made something similar a few years ago for a bridal shower and it was a big hit. I haven’t been able to find the original recipe, so I’m looking forward to trying this! Thanks!

  15. Two years ago when I got married we bought fkowers from a farmers market and used mason jars for vases. Now we have 60 of them! I use them to make whipped cream (no mixer required- it takes 1 min vigorous shaking), any dressing or mixed liquids, iced tea or coffee (just brew and shove in frige). We often make a big batch of something on the weekend (wheat berry salad, soup in the winter) and put in the jars ready to grabbed for lunch on your way out the door to work. They are glass so you can safely heat them in the microwave with no chemicals vetting in your food, they seal liquid tight so they son’t leak when you put them in your backpack, and they are easy to wash with a bottle brush (I hate moldy tupperware but the glass can be sterilized)! You can also buy lids that make it into a coffee takeout cup (that product is called Cuppow) or a water bottle (on Food in Jars blog. Go readto that one!). I sewed some simple cozies for mine and use them for a travel mug and hot steel cut oatmeal eveyday. If I were you I’d hoard those jars and use them happily for everything!

  16. I don’t know if it works for all blenders or not, but regular-mouth mason jars fit onto the blade/base of my blender. I put all the ingredients for smoothies into the jar, screw onto the blender base, and it’s just like a magic bullet. No more washing the blender pitcher and my cup. Happy canning, too! :)

  17. Made this and it was really GOOD. Then the next day used the simple syrup with orange juice instead. Astounding! New favorite breakfast drink. Like grown up Tang, a little. And was also brave enough to make homemade lemonade for the first time in my life because of this post. So thank you!

  18. “Two cups of water and one cup of water worked great.” :-) but I would like to add some sugar ;-)

  19. When you have run out of uses for them in your home, kitchen, for quirky decorations, and for Christmas gifts, do a giveaway to your readers and use them as prizes.

  20. I just made this recipe and felt I had to give a quick thanks for this post. I live in the Caribbean so I’m always looking for ways to beat the heat year round and I drink a lot of lemonade but never thought to add anything besides, lemons, water and sugar. The basil fresh from my mother’s garden has given new life to lemonade for me. Next I’ll try mint. Love your blog!

  21. LOL – great fun to hear about your jar predicament! The spice idea is not bad. Glue Magnets to the lids, and put a magnetic board on the wall. That way you can store your spices vertically instead of taking up space in cupboards. Also you always have a great overview – you can see what you need to buy in a glance. IKEA have the solution already, but the containers are rather small for some spices. Here is a link til Grundtal, the IKEA version:

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