Sparkling Basil Lemonade

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, or for that matter, why good things happen to bad people. A few years back, I had the opportunity to listen to Rabbi Harold Kushner, who wrote the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, speak on those topics. I can no longer recall his message, but I easily remember how I felt after I listened to his message: hopeless.

The day after I heard Rabbi Kushner speak, I happened to be at the office at the same time as a co-worker who worked as a hospice chaplain. Since she was unable to attend the event, she asked what I thought of the experience. I paused, turned from my desk to look directly at her, and said, “I left feeling like…I don’t know, like there was just no point to any of this.” And she laughed. I had just practically bared my soul to this woman, and she laughed.

Fortunately, she followed up that laugh with a statement that shed some light on things. “That’s what Christ provides, hope!” She went on to provide perspective on Jewish and Christian principles that, while enlightening, I won’t get into here because this post is not about religion. This post is about living life as a decent human being.

Sparkling Basil Lemonade

My sister’s friend Kendra celebrates her birthday tomorrow. For her birthday, Kendra requested everyone engage in an intentional act of kindness this week and post it on her Facebook wall for her birthday. My initial reaction was, “Dang, will I ever be that selfless?” My ongoing reaction is, “This is so awesome that I want to tell everybody!”

Have you ever heard the adage about a man walking along a beach littered with starfish? The man throws starfish back into the sea one at a time as he walks. Another person comes along and scoffs at his effort, saying there are too many starfish for the man to help. In response, the man picks up a starfish and throws it into the sea. “Made a difference to that one,” he says.

That is how I feel about kind, and not so kind, acts. Maybe you throw just one stone into the water – one action positive or negative – but it creates ripples that carry far and wide across the pond. What are you throwing out there?

Sparkling Basil Lemonade

As for me, I tend to be kind when things are peachy and not so kind when things are crap. As a tangible reminder of “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”, I literally made lemonade.

The below recipe for sparkling basil lemonade uses a basil simple syrup to sweeten the lemons and sparkling water (or club soda) to jazz up the water. The drink was refreshing, delicious, and a great way to use up some of the basil that is growing like crazy in my tiny urban garden. If you are not sold on the basil in lemonade idea, check out my When Life Hands You Lemons board on Pinterest for other lemonade ideas.

If you would like to participate in an intentional act of kindness this week but are not sure where to start, how about sending a good thought or prayer Kendra’s way? She is going to have a baby girl any day now, so I am certain good vibes for both her and her family would be very much appreciated. Happy kinding!

Sparkling Basil Lemonade

Sparkling Basil Lemonade
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup basil, loosely packed, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 liter bottle club soda or sparkling water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • plenty of ice
  1. Combine the water, sugar, and basil leaves in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
  4. Strain the syrup into a bowl and discard the basil leaves.
  5. Cover and chill the syrup for two to 24 hours.
  6. Combine the chilled basil syrup, club soda or sparkling water, and lemon juice.
  7. Serve over ice to enjoy.
This recipe can be easily doubled. Not into sparkles? Simply replace the club soda or sparkling water with water from the tap.

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