Basil Lemonade

from Gourmet

2 cups basil lemon syrup (recipe below)
2 cups cold water
2 cups ice cubes
1 ¼ cups fresh lemon juice

Stir together all ingredients in a large pitcher or bowl. Pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice. For an alcoholic version (which I recommend), add 3/4-cup vodka to the mix before serving.

Makes about 6 drinks.

Basil Lemon Syrup

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
4 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest (I left these out)
2 cups packed fresh basil sprigs

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and zest. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the basil, stir to combine, and let stand at room temperature, covered, for 1 hour. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain the syrup through a sieve into an airtight container, pressing hard on and then discarding the solids.

Makes about 3 cups.

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