meyer lemons + basil ::::
Since moving from the Midwest to California this year, I can’t say I miss the cold. I laugh when people say it’s cold here. Fifty degrees farenheit is cold?? Try sub-zero temperatures with a wind chill that freezes your snot: that is cold. I bask in the sun on my face and remember those days with a shiver.
It is not sunny and warm for many of you, being in the thick of your true winters, shivering deserved shivers. You shovel snow, you trudge through slush, you tenaciously walk over icy patches, you scrape your car in the inky, dark mornings.
But citrus are in season. One must make lemonade.
Sipping winter lemonade brings you back to summer: the long, languid days of porch-sitting, or bustling kids to swimming lessons, or melting in the concrete heat of the city.
So make it special with basil and Meyer lemons.
Meyer lemons have a unique flavor, almost a cross between a lemon and a tangerine in taste and scent. Next to an ordinary lemon, Meyers blush. They blush a golden yellow. They shine across the crowded kitchen, your own sunshine in your bleak winter. For those of you in the Midwest, digging your way out of the recent snowstorm snowdump, this drink may be just the prescription for a daydreamy glint of spring sun and melting snowdrifts.
Simple syrups are essential in making any smooth, non-gritty sweet drink. When flavored, they create a whole new dimension of flavor. Don’t rush this step: you want to make sure the flavor of the basil infuses the syrup. I chilled my syrup and my lemon juice until cold before use, so I did not need to rely on much ice to chill the drink. I also used seltzer water instead of still water, as the original recipe called for, as I often like a little fizz in my fruity drinks
- 2 cups basil lemon syrup (see recipe below)
- 2 cups seltzer water
- 2 cups ice
- 1 ¼ cups Meyer lemon juice**
- For the basil lemon syrup: 4 cups packed basil
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 9 long strips of lemon zest
- For the syrup, boil all until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature, covered, for 1 hour. Chill until cold.
- Strain through sieve, pushing down on solids to release juices.
- Mix syrup, seltzer, ice, and lemon juice as directed.
- If living in a colder climate, sit next to your heater/radiator/fireplace, close your eyes, and pretend you are on your favorite beach.