Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cocktail Hour: Basil Vodka Lemonade

The dog days have arrived. When one lacks central air in the Midwest, boozy refreshment is the only way to cope. Wonderful for a party, this summer favorite packs a punch and an unexpected pop of brightness from fresh basil. 

The players are simple and renowned for their starring roles in summer. Though I don't believe you're allowed to sell this from a stand on the street, at least without a license.

Flavored simple syrups are just that... simple. One part sugar, one part water and add any flavor you fancy. Rosemary would be delicious here too. Try cilantro and slice of jalapeno if you're feeling really cray cray.

Just be sure to strain.

Don't forget the vodka of course. One must never forget the vodka. There are occasions in life for plastic-bottle quality vodka. College dorm party, for instance. Let's move past that time, shall we? No need for top-shelf here, but have some're a lady.

Pretty party ready to start.

Basil Vodka Lemonade
Serves a crowd

1 750ml bottle good-quality vodka
4 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Handful of basil (reserve a few leave for garnish)
2 liters club soda

Combine sugar, water, basil and a squeezed lemon rind. Heat on low until sugar dissolves; do not boil. Allow simple syrup to cool for several hours. Combine vodka, lemon juice and syrup; stir. Finish with club soda just before serving. Serve over ice with lemon wedge.


  1. What a refreshing drink on a hot and steamy St. Louis summer afternoon. At first glance the basil seemed a bit odd, but it added a very mild flovaor and nice aroma. Yummy...

  2. I can attest... this is delish! Next time -- more vodka! What? Did I just say (type) that?!

  3. I'm becoming a little obsessed with the Basil Lemontini at The Block in the Central West End ($5 at happy hour! Woot!). Maybe I'll try and at home version. Now if only you could give me their recipe for bacon jam. Yep. Bacon. Jam. (Also $5 at happy hour)


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