Vodka Lemonade Laced with Basil and Mint
This cocktail will spice up your day. Add more (or no) vodka, depending on how strong you would like the drink to be. Feel free to experiment – a simple syrup is wonderful canvas for showcasing a variety of flavors. Try combinations of different herbs; make a raspberry syrup instead; or add a pinch of dried lavender for a floral taste.
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1 cup basil leaves
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Zest of 1 lime
4 cups water
½ cup vodka
¾ cup basil and mint sugar syrup
Cubed ice, for serving
Basil and mint leaves, for garnish
Remove the stems from the herb leaves and rinse away any dirt or grit – be careful not to bruise the basil. Bring the sugar, water, lime zest, basil and mint to a low boil in a small pot over medium heat. Swirl the pot occasionally to distribute the sugar into the water. Once the sugar has melted into the water, cover and turn off the heat. Allow the herbs to seep into the sugar for 15 minutes.
Remove the top from the pot and strain the syrup over a sieve into a bowl or measuring cup; discard the leaves. Reserve.
Slice each lemon in half and use a reamer to juice. This should make about 1 cup of lemon juice. Strain into a pitcher, removing any seeds.
Add the water, vodka and simple syrup to the lemon juice. Use a clean wooden spoon to stir and taste – add more vodka or syrup, if needed. Place the pitcher in the fridge and allow to cool for 1 hour.
Serve in tumblers over cubed ice and garnish with either a mint or basil leaf (or both!)