I first tasted this delicious lemonade at a Fourth of July party. The recipe comes from the hostess, Peggy Chandler, who is a fabulous home gourmet. I recently served it at a luncheon in Cincinnati promoting the cookbook, to rave reviews! You can serve it straight, or with vodka.
Basil Lemonade Recipe
4 cups packed basil sprigs, plus more for garnish
6 to 7 cups water, divided
2 cups sugar
9 strips lemon peel
2 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
In a medium saucepan, stir together the basil sprigs, 4 cups water, sugar and lemon peel. Bring a slow boil and continue cooking, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Let sit at room temperature for around an hour, then refrigerate for at least another hour (I like to leave it overnight). Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a mixing bowl, pushing down on the solids to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.
Mix together the basil mixture with the remaining 2 to 3 cups water (to taste) and the lemon juice. Chill for at least an hour. Serve over ice, garnished with a basil sprig.
Make ahead: lemonade can be made up to 2 days in advance, stored in the refrigerator.