Monday, March 19, 2012

A much-needed cocktail: Spiked Basil Lemonade

Ever have one of those days where things are going along swimmingly, not a care in the world, and then suddenly you’re picking up your dog from emergency surgery at 10 o’clock at night? Yeah, me too…

That was our Saturday night. I’m beyond thankful that we were home and not out drinking green beer while our sweet little pup was suffering, unbeknownst to us. I’ve never been so glad to be a couple of boring homebodies.

So I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say it involved his behind. And we now have a very uncomfortable miniature dachshund on our hands. If you know me, you know I’m a bit of a nervous wreck with things like doctors, procedures, open wounds, sutures, etc. As a result, I’m a bit on edge now, as I sit with this helpless little creature who wakes up every so often and thrashes around in his cone trying to get to what’s hurting him at the other end. It’s incredibly hard to watch and I instantly break into a sweat as I try to comfort him.

The next few days are not looking too good at this moment. Andy, who is one of the calmest people I’ve ever met, keeps giving me reachable goals in regard to time. Things like: “Okay, let's just get to noon, and it will be that much better,” and “By the end of tonight, he’ll have that much more healing time behind him.” He knows that I can only handle several hour increments, apparently. I’m sure I speak for all of us, including our furry little boy, when I say that I can’t wait to be on the other side of this.

In the meantime, who needs a cocktail?? I know somebody...I’ll give you a hint: it’s me.

My sister and I replicated this cocktail many years ago after having it at a restaurant. I remember something comical happening as we tried to make homemade lemonade, but I don’t know exactly what. I think it had to do with several very sour attempts before getting it right, but once we did, there was much rejoicing. And drinking, of course.

Spiked Basil Lemonade

Makes 6-8 drinks, depending on how they’re served

1 batch simple syrup (see recipe below)
2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups citron vodka
20 large basil leaves, roughly torn
1/2 a lemon, cut into 4 pieces
sugar and a lemon wedge, if serving as martinis

In a pitcher, muddle basil and lemon pieces. Pour in simple syrup, lemon juice and vodka. (Let sit for about 20 minutes to allow basil flavor to infuse the lemonade.)

Serve over ice or in a martini glass.

For martinis, run a lemon wedge around the rim of a glass and dip rim in sugar. Shake with ice and strain.

Note: Don’t prepare too far in advance as basil will start to discolor and turn black after a few hours.

Simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan on high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is slightly thickened. Let cool. Yield should be about 1 1/4 cups.

Watch out for these…I put them in the “dangerous” category for going down so easily. They’ve got just the right combination of sweetness, tartness and goodness and would make a perfect beverage choice for a brunch, a day on the patio, or when you’re trying to calm your nerves because your dog just had butt* surgery. 

(*That fine descriptor was added by Andy when he proofread for me. I knew something was up when I heard snickering...and since it made me laugh out loud, it stayed.)


  1. I am terribly sorry about your dog :( I know I'd go crazy too if something happened to my cat (or in the past -- dog & cat). Hope he feels better really quickly.
    As for your spiked lemonade: it looks pretty good! Definitely something to try after a long day :)

  2. How interesting! I have never had basil in a cocktail of any sort.
    I hope things look up soon!

  3. What a perfect lemony drink; love the basil in there. Hope your furry friend is better soon.

  4. Yum, I totally know what I'm doing with the extra basil in my fridge!!

    So sorry to hear about your dog, hope he's feeling better!!

  5. I do hope your puppy gets better quickly and puts his injury 'behind' him (sorry, couldn't resist). Andy seems like an incredible person, knowing just what you need to help you get through the next few days. Kudos to him.

    The lemonade got my mouth watering immediately. I love basil and lemon. Well, and vodka. I'll be this one sneaks up and bites you in the butt though (sorry, couldn't resist again).

  6. Say Happy Birthday to the your doggie. We hope he's better real soon. Poor little guy.
    As you know we have tried this drink before and it is REALLY good. Go have another one, you deserve it!

  7. Poor little pup! I hope he's on the mend. And as for this cocktail, all I can say is YUM!

  8. This looks so beautiful and refreshing! I def could use one of these!

  9. After spring cleaning and all the chores piled up...I need a relaxing drink. This looks really wonderful!

  10. Oh, your poor pup! Mine had some elective surgery on her stinky hind end (TMI, I know!) and I hope yours recovers just as quickly as she did. Until then, I'm glad you have these wonderful cocktails to help you relax at the end of the day~

  11. Hi there! Just a quick note to let you know we are running a cocktail contest on our Facebook page. Feel free to enter with one of your delicious and original recipes! The best one gets a prize! Entries open until March 25th 2012.

  12. OMG! This drink is OUTSTANDING! I have an abundance of basil and was looking for recipes that would use it up. This recipe is well worth the trouble of freshly squeezing lemons. Thank you for posting it.