Looking for a lemonade stand?

Summer fantasy for book lovers may include a hammock, shady trees, a stack of unread library books and an icy glass of lemonade. However, book lovers with epicurean tendencies may want to turn to a more sophisticated flavor: basil lemonade. Throughout the Sacramento Public Library district, there are summer picnic recipe programs that include this and other recipes perfect for taking to a barbeque, picnic, or other summer get-together. But if your plans involved solitude and hours of reading, this recipe will make a perfect basil lemon syrup for inclusion in lemonade, iced tea, or (if you are over 18!) a summery cocktail.

Ingredients required:

  • 4 cups packed fresh basil sprigs (top 4 inches; from a 1/2-pound bunch)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 9 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature, covered,  for 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, pressing the solids hard and then discarding. (Recipe from Epicurious)

Basil not your thing? This syrup would be delicious made with herbs like lavender, rosemary, mint or another favorite. Try reading a travel book while you sip, something like Under the Tuscan Sun, Travels with Charley, or, of course, The Geography of Bliss!

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