Strawberries star in this refreshing boozy lemonade. A strawberry simple syrup added to bourbon, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and muddled basil leaves make a cocktail you’ll want to sip on all summer long.
On the matter of drinks, I’m a beer girl who is slowly working her way into becoming a whiskey woman. I appreciate the spirit, but I’m still figuring how I like to drink it.
A friend, and true whiskey woman, let me know that a good way to start drinking bourbon is to mix it with something herbaceous. She mentioned something about a spoonful of herbs helping the medicine go down. I imagine sugar doesn’t hurt either.
Taking that advice, strawberry basil bourbon lemonade – made with both herbs and sugar – seemed like a great place to start.
One key to success when making this boozy strawberry lemonade is to choose the right bourbon. I would never dream of mixing a hopped-out-of-its-mind IPA with a robust coffee when mixing a beer cocktail. Those two strong flavors together just don’t work.
For a whiskey cocktail, I wouldn’t want to dilute a premium bourbon with strawberry simple syrup or an inexpensive bourbon to serve as a great base ingredient. If I wouldn’t want to drink is straight, I’m probably not going to want to drink it in a cocktail either.
I used Four Roses bourbon for this recipe. It’s smooth, mellow, and makes a great cocktail. Cheers!
- 1 pound strawberries
- 3 cups water, divided
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
- 8 - 16 basil leaves
- ice, for serving
- Hull and halve the strawberries, then place them and 1/4 cup of water in a blender or food processor and process until pureed.
- Transfer the pureed strawberries to a medium saucepan and add 1 3/4 cups water.
- Heat over medium-high heat until just boiling, then stir in the sugar until dissolved.
- Remove the strawberry mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the solids, and chill the strained syrup for at least one hour.
- Combine the chilled strawberry syrup, remaining 1 cup of water, bourbon, and lemon juice in a pitcher and stir until combined.
- To serve, muddle a basil leaf or two in a glass, add ice, and then pour the strawberry bourbon lemonade over top.
Recipe slightly adapted from Country Living Magazine, July/August 2014.