Try out my recipe for Simple Basil Lemonade! The herb gives the lemonade a pleasant aftertaste without being overwhelming. I love this refreshing drink, perfect for a warm summer day or any time you need a bit of a cool citrus kick. 

Basil Lemonade

We planted a garden this weekend! Okay well 3 tomato plants. It took 2 trips to the store. And then we accidentally planted them in the wrong spot (too shady). And in the process Charlotte was attacked by ants. But at least it’s a start!
Pitcher full of basil lemonade 
Poor Charlotte. We were digging up the ground where we were going to plant (again, in the wrong spot) and hit an ant hill. So they got really mad and decided to take vengeance on our firstborn child. She had bites all over. Who knew regular black ants could be so vicious?
holding cold cup of basil lemonade
We’re pretty excited about this whole garden (inthewrongspot) thing. We go out as a family to water it every day (yes, really.) But soon it will become a chore much like laundry and dishes, and then we’ll see how long those little tomatoes last. I barely remember to water my basil plant and it lives 3 inches from my faucet.
Basil Lemonade
We also have a lemon tree in our backyard, hence the lemonade. It’s actually the neighbor’s tree, but it hangs over quite a bit into our yard. (I also walked over into another neighbor’s yard today and nabbed some Meyer lemons. Are you packing your bags for California yet?)
Basil Lemonade
If you told me a couple years ago that I’d be making Basil Lemonade, I would have scoffed. Basil? Could you get a little more pretentious please?
Basil Lemonade

But I’ve changed my ways. Snootified my life, you could say. I’ve even started wearing polo shirts. Just kidding. But I’m telling you, Basil Lemonade is where it’s at. The lemonade is perfect on it’s own (feel free to omit the basil if you want to Rage Against The Prep.) The secret’s in the syrup. You boil the sugar and water together to make a simple syrup, ensuring that the sugar is completely dissolved.

It’s just perfect. The basil honestly doesn’t complicate things too much. Just gives it a lovely aftertaste. This would be the perfect make-ahead drink for a Mother’s Day brunch or lunch!

Basil Lemonade

How to make Basil Lemonade

To start, measure our the basil that you need. It’s important to get the full amount. Jam that basil in there!

Measuring fresh basil

Then smash it up.

Smashing up basil

And add it to the syrup.

Preparing syrup for drink

Strain it out.

Straining basil from syrup

Add your lemon juice. Trust me, all that squeezing will be worth it!

Measuring lemon juice in jar

Then serve with ice and lemon slices and enjoy!

Pouring Basil Lemonade

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Basil Lemonade

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Simple Basil Lemonade. The herb gives the lemonade a pleasant aftertaste without being overwhelming.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 & 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup basil, fresh, packed
  • 1 & 1/2 cups lemon juice, fresh-squeezed , 5-6 large lemons
  • 7 cups cold water
  • ice
  • basil, fresh, to garnish
  • lemon wedges, to garnish


  • In a medium pot, stir together 1 cup water and 1 3/4 cups sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved, it shouldn't take more than a minute or two. Turn off the heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a heat-proof bowl, add the 1/4 cup packed basil. Use your hands to tear up the pieces. Use a wooden spoon to bruise the leaves against the bowl. Keep going until they are nice and dark. You want to get all that flavor.
  • Pour the sugar syrup over the basil leaves. Put it in the fridge for about 2-3 hours or until completely chilled. The longer it sits the more basilicious it will be.
  • Juice the lemons. Strain it through a colander to remove the seeds, but so that most of the pulp remains.
  • Add the lemon juice, 7 cups of water, and ice to a pitcher. Strain the refrigerated syrup through the colander into the pitcher. Discard basil. Stir well.
  • Serve with ice, fresh basil, and lemon wedges.


Source: adapted from


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 50mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 42IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Calories: 180
Keyword: Basil, lemonade
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. its looks delicious.. i am making it this weekend for my friends get together.. thnx for sharing..

  2. So, I just made a basic simple syrup except that I added chopped basil to it while it was simmering. I let it cool a little bit, then just strained out the basil. It has a light, sweet basil flavor. I’m going to combine it with pureed watermelon and make a basil-watermelon lemonade :)

  3. Too funny, I JUST made basil simple syrup last night, for lemonade . . . and then I stopped over here and saw this! I made it a little differently, but I LOVE your technique of muddling and scruffing up the basil leaves to get all of their flavor out. So smart!

    1. Our brains must be synced Lori :) How did you make your basil syrup? I should try it out. I’ve got basil and lemons up the hizzah over here.

  4. I’m obsessed with basil so I’m all over this drink! It looks delicious and refreshing. :)

  5. Since I put basil and lemons on almost everything I eat, it only makes sense that I would LOVE this drink! I’ve never thought to put basil in a drink, how creative! Sounds so refreshing and I can’t wait to try it :)

  6. Okay, first of all I am completely jealous that you have your own lemon tree. Second, I am getting outta lame Wisconsin and moving to California as soon as possible just because of the fresh produce. Lastly, I am completely in love with this gorgeous lemonade! I grow so much basil in my garden in the summertime, so why haven’t I thought to put it in my lemonade?? Seriously genius idea, Karen! Definitely trying this basil lemonade this summer. — Looks like the perfect thirst-quencher! pinned. :)

  7. OMG poor Charlotte! That would freak me the hell out. This is precisely why I’m an in-doors gal. Gardening = too much nature for me. You’re a good woman for attempting to garden. I have the black thumb of death so I’ll just stay in my house and hopefully someone will make me this gorgeous lemonade. I love the addition of basil (because I’m a classy, elitist bitch) and I will make sure I drink this with my pinky up while looking down my nose at the commoners. I love all of these photos – they’re beautiful! I’m terrible at photographing drinks but a pro at adding alcohol to them. I could use a pitcher of this with a few shots of rum or vodka right about now.

  8. I’m totally loving this!!! I would be so grateful if one of my family members made this for me. I’m in love with basil.

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