Ever had mint lemonade? Basil lemonade? How about both….and throw in a little bit of dill? Seriously, this herbed lemonade is something you need to try….NOW!
Herbed Lemonade? I can hear the inflection of doubt in your voice. But you can buy in a little ‘cuz you’ve had mojitos or basil or mint in a fresh fruit salad. But then in the parentheses: Dill? And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: GROSS. But, seriously, you would be wrong. I first had a taste of this herbed lemonade variation at MacCool’s, my favorite little Irish Pub up in SLC, and I was skeptical, too. I’ve had drinks with mint and drinks with basil, but never both, and then….dill? I gave the waitress a crooked look, and she reassuringly said, “No seriously, you’ve got to try it. (whispers) And also, it’s not that much dill.” So I decided to give it a chance. And then I was sold.
Now, maybe you are skeptical about the whole herb concept in general. But it’s really just a faint afterthought to the drink that will leave you slightly surprised and pleasantly refreshed. In fact, it was a huge hit at a recent family gathering I had. I didn’t clue anyone in on the fact that the lemonade was “herbed”. They just took their first sips, and then my brother-in-law spurted out, “Wow, did you put some herbs in this or something? It tastes really good!” Those are the moments that make me smile just a little bit. And that really is what is so cool about the herbs in this lemonade. Like I said, it’s subtle, so my kids, for example, just drink it as they would any other lemonade. But when you recognize that different ending as you are sipping up this summery goodness, it becomes, honestly, quite addicting.
There is a lot of flexibility in this recipe. Since it is a syrup based lemonade, you can make the syrup days in advance for a bigger function. Or you can just have it around and add some to, well, any drink, really. You can mix up the amounts of herbs, or just do all mint or all basil (although I would probably not recommend just dill – never quite put myself up to try that one). If you are using very tart lemons, you can add more sugar and water to adjust to your taste.
Herbed Lemonade (Mint, Basil, Dill)
- 1 cup water for the simple syrup
- 1 cups and 1/2 granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup to 1/4 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoons to 2 fresh dill sprigs
- 1 cups and 1/2 lemon juice bottled or fresh
- 7 cups to 8 water
In a small to medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water and the granulated sugar.
Turn over medium heat and stir so that sugar begins to dissolve.
While syrup is heating to a boil, roughly rip up mint and basil leaves (by hand, or you can chop with a knife) and throw into the mixture. (Ripping helps release their oils).
Add fresh dill springs. (leave on stems so they will be easier to filter out later).
Turn up heat, if necessary, until syrup starts a gentle boil.
Boil for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and pour mixture (herbs included) into a storage container, and place in fridge to allow herbs to continue to steep.
Steep for at least one hour (or up to 24 hours).
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain herbs out of syrup.
When time to serve your lemonade, combine syrup, lemon juice, 7 to 8 cups water, and ice and stir until well blended.
This recipe is very flexible with the herb proportions (and pretty much everything else, too). You may adjust the mint and basil to your taste. Mint tends to add a little more sweetness, and basil, a little more robustness (although still subtle). Keep the dill to a minimum. It is just a very light hint to enhance, and you don't want to really notice a distinct flavor there.
Although I have never actually tried, I would not attempt using dried herbs for this drink - USE FRESH!
If using fresh lemons, you may want to add more sugar and/or water to balance it out as some lemons can be very tart. (I don't like to go super-sweet, personally, but this is obviously a personal taste issue again.)
Dress it Down:
If dill scares you, just go ahead and eliminate it.
Substitute for all mint or all basil instead of the combo.
In a time-pinch, you may use the syrup immediately after making it (not steeping the additional time in the fridge). You may want to up the herb amounts a little bit to try to get more flavor in there.
Basil Lemonade by The Food Charlatan
Herbed Lemonade by Oh Sweet Basil
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