Friday, August 16, 2013

Berry Basil Hard Lemonade

I love finding new drinks and concoctions to try.  Cocktails are so much fun and a great way to take advantage of seasonal ingredients.  Everyone enjoys the summer months for the back yard parties, bbq's and grilling.  During those events a fun cocktail is definitely a must.  I mean, is there anything better than sitting on the back porch, enjoyed a refreshing and fun summer cocktail while enjoying the weather? 
Summers here in Arkansas are definitely all over the charts as far as the temperatures go.  We vary anywhere from mid 80's to upper 100's and that's not even counting the heat index.  So when we have those mild days that are mid 80's lower 90's we definitely try to take full advantage of them. 
When I think of summertime, lemonade always comes to mind.  There's just something so refreshing about fresh squeezed lemonade, completely tart yet immediately cut but the sweet sugar.  So, to me, lemonade and summer go hand in hand.
 A summer cocktail featuring fresh squeezed lemon juice, a variety of summer berries, and how about some fresh basil?  This hard lemonade has it all.  The fresh lemon juice is combined with ice cold water and chilled.  A simple syrup infused with fresh basil and an assortment of mixed berries; strawberries, raspberries and black berries, summer in a syrup!  The syrup is then added, to taste, to the lemonade to create the bright reddish-pinkish color, again screaming summer.  A splash of bourbon, to make it a hard lemonade, and a dose of club soda to give it a little fiz.
 Summer in a glass.  Now this lemonade is definitely suitable for the kiddos and non-alcohol consumers, just simply omit the bourbon when filling the glass.  You have a fun, summer drink that is fit for everyone.  Now fire up the grill, pull out the lawn chairs and make a cocktail and enjoy the summer!

Berry Basil Hard Lemonade
Ingredients:

Juice of 5-7 lemons
4-5 Cups ice water

For the syrup-
1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
5-7 Basil leaves

For serving-
1 oz bourbon, per adult serving
Club soda for topping off (optional)

Directions:

In a large pitcher combine lemon juice and cold water, stir to combine.  Place in the refrigerator to chill until the syrup is ready.

For the syrup-
Place water, sugar, berries and basil leaves in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir ingredients to combine.  Leave over heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved.

Pour the ingredients through a large sieve to catch the berries and basil leaves.  Place the syrup in a heat proof container and coll in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

To prepare-
Mix the berry syrup with the lemon mixture, about one ounce at a time, until sweetened to taste.  Add additional water to dilute, if needed.

To serve-
Add 1 ounce of bourbon, if using, to an ice filled glass for the adult drinks.  Pour lemon berry mixture over the ice then top with club soda.  Garnish with lemon slices and fresh basil leaves.  For the kiddos and non-alcohol partakers, simply omit the bourbon.

Recipe source: Bakeaholic Mama

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