Kinda like the Vampire one, only not nearly as sexy. Also there are no werewolves involved, unless you count the occasional coyote who wonders into my yard in broad daylight just to freak me out or the eight-and-a-half pound dog who lives with me who thinks she can take it on, poor deluded little dreamer. Change they say is good, and I am making a big one. Sometimes leaving the band should not be seen so much as a break up but more as an opportunity to finally make that kick-ass solo album you always dreamed about. And yes, it is scary because sometimes those solo albums are terrible (see anything by Mick Jagger or Ringo Starr) but sometimes they are fantastic (hello Jack White, Bjork and the Power Station) and that is exactly what I am aiming for.
These same old know-it-alls also say when life gives you lemons make lemonade which sounds like a great idea to me. This honey basil lemonade is fantastic on its own or with a little dollop or two of vodka, depending on how you are feeling about the whole going solo thing.
For the syrup you will need:
2 cups filtered water
2 cups fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup raw honey – I used slightly less, I find simple syrups made with honey just a bit too sickly sweet even for me, and I like the sweet.
2 TBS lemon zest – I used two medium lemons for this, remember to only zest the yellow bits, the white stuff is NASTY.
Now you don’t have to use honey from your own town like I did but why not? Think of it as supporting your local bees who can use all the help they can get these days thanks to all the bad plants with neonicotinoids trying to kill them off. My own basil was looking a little bit shabby because I generally lose all interest in my plants by Labor Day (which was quite late this year) so I had to supplement mine with basil from the store which is so annoying.
And while lemons are not part of the EWG’s dirty dozen I still buy the organic ones even though they are never as large or as pretty. Being a new member of the non-working group (does that make me a poodle or a Frenchie? I like them both, it’s so hard to choose), I should probably start buying the ones chock-full of pesticides at Wal-Mart but some habits just can’t be broken no matter how uncertain one’s future may be.
Bring the water and honey to a boil, stir it a bit every once in a while to dissolve the honey. Add the lemon zest and basil. Remove from heat and muddle the basil just like a fancy pants bartender would. Cover and cool, I let mine sit in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. I mean, why be in a rush? Strain this seriously chilled mixture into your very best serving pitcher. Just because you are a struggling writer/blogger person does not mean you don’t have any standards.
When I was a kid I used to like to wear the little oval brand labels from Sunkist lemons and Chiquita bananas on my forehead, sort of like a corporate sponsored bindi. I am an old now and beyond such silly things but my cat on the other hand is quite young and was made precisely for these kind of silly things, especially since he sucks at real cat stuff like mouse hunting and bug killing.
For the finished lemonade you will need:
basil lemon syrup
3/4- 1 cup fresh lemon juice – depending on how lemony you like it, I juiced three lemons and called it a day.
5 cups filtered water – give or take.
pinch of chunky salt – don’t even think about using table salt. The original recipe called for Celtic sea salt and although I am mainly descended from the Celts I used Kosher because where the hell do you find that, Ireland? I can’t even think about going on a trip right now people.
ice cubes – as many as you feel like, I like a lot.
basil leaves and lemon slices (boring) or twisties (way cool) for garnish.
Combine the basil lemon syrup with the filtered water ( I have a built-in Brita thing in my fridge for these types of situations), fresh lemon juice and the salt. Stir to combine and then pour into ice cube-filled glasses. Add your garnishes and serve immediately.