Today, I’m sharing my answer to my current problemo: no booze until October.
Hah. Not to sound like I’m desperate without alcohol (helloooo, having a baby is totally worth the sacrifice), but it can be tough during these warmer months to go without. I’m usually ALLL about the cold beers, sweet-salty margaritas, and icy glasses of white wine during the summer. Between the lack of said beverages and the fact that HOT DOGS have been forbidden (OMG), the next few months seem like they will be passing a bit more slowly than normal. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I love the summer after all.
As a solution to this predicament, I’ve been trying to come up with some fun non-alcoholic drink options for myself. It is so refreshing when a restaurant or bar has a “mocktail” option on hand. We were in Chicago a couple weekends ago, and I had a stellar cranberry mojito and an incredible Moscow mule at two different restaurants…both sans the booze. Both options were on the regular menus. I love that….because it means I don’t have to put in a special request for a nonalcoholic option. For some reason, bartenders and servers often feel entitled to know why someone is not imbibing. I’ve been asked almost every time I’ve ordered a non-boozy drink. Not that my reason is particularly taboo, but seriously! The gall of some people just astounds me. One time, I want to come up with some atrocious reason just to make them super uncomfortable.
Anyway. This lemonade is a fantastic alternative to boozy cocktails. It is light and refreshing, like lemonade should be, but it has some complexity going on too. Basil, strawberries, and lemons pretty much belong together. I don’t miss the booze at all when I’m drinking a glass of this. Of course, a splash of rum or vodka would fit in juuust fine here (and I probably would have included one of them if I wasn’t knocked up), but it’s nice to know that there are ways to enjoy the summer “mocktail” without feeling like you’re missing out.
I plan on making this again and again this summer. I’m convinced it’s how I’ll survive.
Now, off to figure out that hot dog predicament…
Sparkling Strawberry-Basil Lemonade (makes 6 servings)
For the Basil Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves
For the Lemonade:
1 lb strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3½ cups water
Sparkling water or seltzer, for topping off each glass
Additional basil leaves, lemon slices, and strawberries, for garnish
For the Basil Syrup:
Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepot and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the basil leaves and remove from heat. Allow the basil to steep in the syrup for at least one hour. Strain out the basil and reserve the syrup.
For the Lemonade:
Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor with a couple tablespoons of water. Puree until completely smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the pulp. Pour the strawberry juice into a large pitcher. Add the basil simple syrup, lemon juice, and water and mix well to combine. Check to ensure it tastes right to you (sweet enough, tart enough, etc). Place the pitcher in the refrigerator and chill for a couple hours.
Before serving, stir the lemonade mixture and then pour over ice into individual glasses. Top each off with sparkling water and garnish with basil leaves, lemon slices, and strawberries. Enjoy cold!
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Phillip || SouthernFATTY.com says
Looks like a perfect way to use some of the leftover strawberries I kept from this season. Lovely!
Thanks, Phillip! It absolutely IS the perfect way to use up those strawberries…in my humble opinion 🙂