Technically, I am a whiskey woman, but only because the group does not recognize membership milestones. If that were the case, I would very much be a whiskey girl working my way up.
At the last Whiskey Drink-Up I attended, I ordered a blackberry old fashioned that I took one sip of and that was that. My friend graciously traded me her chocolate mint julep, and that, I could palate.
It was then a true Whiskey Woman informed me that a good way to start drinking bourbon is to mix it with something herbaceous; that’s why I could more readily sip the mint julep. There is something about a spoonful of herbs that helps the medicine go down. I imagine sugar does not hurt either.
For whiskey girls like myself, this strawberry basil bourbon lemonade has both herbs and sugar to help us along. That said, the bourbon you use will affect the taste of your cocktail much more so than the ingredients you mix with it.
I would never dream of mixing a hopped-out-of-its-mind IPA with something like coffee if I were mixing a beer cocktail. Likewise, I would not want to dilute a premium whiskey with a significant amount of strawberry simple syrup or expect a cheap bourbon to add good flavor to a drink.
The bourbon I used here, Four Roses Yellow, is smooth and mellow and good for mixing up cocktails. With the days getting longer and the weather getting warmer, I see a lot more of those in my future. Cheers!
Strawberry Basil Bourbon Lemonade
- For the Strawberry Syrup
- 1 pound strawberries
- 2 cups water, divided
- 2 cups sugar
- For the Lemonade
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
- 8 - 16 basil leaves
- ice, for serving
- Hull and halve the strawberries and place them along with 1/4 cup of water in a blender or food processor and process until pureed.
- Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and add an additional 1 3/4 cups water.
- Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until just boiling, then stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and chill the strained syrup for at least one hour. Go ahead and discard the solids you strained from the syrup.
- When you are ready to serve the lemonade, combine the chilled strawberry syrup, bourbon, water, and lemon juice and stir until fully combined.
- Muddle a basil leaf or two into a glass, add ice, then pour the lemonade over top.
I left out the Angostura bitters here, but it is worth adding a dash to each glass if you have them on hand. The original recipe called for adding one ounce of bitters to the full pitcher of lemonade you mix up.You may want to plan for a few additional basil sprigs or lemon wheels for garnishing.
I was provided with a bottle of Four Roses Yellow bourbon for use in this recipe.