Happy Independence Day! I haven’t been posting this past week because I caught a terrible case of summer flu. No cooking for a week! Now that I’m finally back on my feet, I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite summer drinks: Basil Lemonade with Agave!
The variations of lemonade made around the world are virtually endless. From Europe to the Middle East to North America, lemonade exists in different flavors and even colors. With lemons first introduced to Egypt about 1400 years ago, Egypt also has the first written record of making a beverage with lemons as the main ingredient. Lemonade has been popular in the United States since at least the 1850s.
When I was little, I remember making fresh lemonade using the Meyer lemons from my grandma’s tree. It took a lot of elbow grease to squeeze all the juice from the lemons. In fact, I don’t remember using a juicing tool. We used to squeeze them with our hands, one by one. However, today I made lemonade by using basic lemons and basil from my spicy globe basil plant, which was a gift from my friend Johanna. The spicy globe basil is really fragrant, just like the basil you purchase at the market, except is has smaller leaves.
For this recipe I used the Chef’n Juicester. This awesome gadget made juicing the lemons a cinch. The juice drips into a measuring cup so you know how much you are juicing to get recipes correct. It also separates the pulp and seeds. The Juicester acts as a juicer and reamer all in one!
- 1 half gallon pitcher
- 12-15 lemons or 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of fresh basil
- 1/4 cup of organic agave
- ice and water
- 4 lemon slices
Slice all the lemons in half and reserve four lemon slices. Start juicing your lemon halves one by one. Separate the basil leaves from the stems and chop.
Now, add the lemon juice to the pitcher, plus the basil and agave.
Now fill the pitcher with cold filtered water, ice and the reserved lemon slices. Stir well and serve.
This is a simple and easy way to give a twist to a classic on a hot summer day. Throw a pitcher in your refrigerator and cool off with a refreshing treat. If you are not going to drink this lemonade immediately or you are making a larger quantity, I suggest making simple syrup and infusing the basil in place of the agave. Remember to use fresh basil leaves when serving. This way, no one has to see brown basil leaves, because they will turn if left in the lemonade too long.