I have an overabundance of basil on my porch garden already - and it's barely summer. That's okay, because I LOVE BASIL. But I have to think of more things to make with it than just regular ol' pesto and Caprese salads/sandwiches. A few years ago, I concocted an Apricot Basil Whiskey Smash, and as I remember, it was dee-licious. So I trust my instincts to make a thoughtful attempt at "inventing" something new with this culinary herb.
In addition to sweet and purple basil, I have fennel, mint, chamomile, lemon verbena, and rosemary growing in the porch garden - all chosen because I love the taste of each, and because they contain properties that aid in digestion. Each of these herbs are also ideally suited for infusing in water, and I'm always trying to up my water game and get more H20 in my system to stay hydrated, so why not try a basil-infused water?
I have already been experimenting with infusions simply by adding bitters to my water - I like Urban Moonshine citrus and chamomile digestive bitters (I get mine at Ellwood Thompson). BONUS: These bitters actually aren't all that bitter-tasting. Also among the various shrubs, bitters, and syrups I have in my fridge was a bottle of Bittermens Celery Shrub (which I initially thought was bitters, but is not). And not to "muddle" the thought processes up here too much, I recently had one of Cava's Basil Limeades, which I thought was super-tasty and refreshing, and at some point I made a mental note to try to recreate that at home.
So with the gobs of basil in my garden area, a taste for lime, some celery shrub, and a few other ingredients (like lemon verbena to add to the citrus flavor), I have created this recipe for Basil Celery Limeade Soda. . . or Basil-Celery-Lime Herbal Tonic. . . Or Basil-Mint-Celery-Lime Agua Fresca. I just don't know what to call it - but I do know that I'll be recreating this cooling, healing drink more than once this summer.
Basil Limeade Herbal Tonic
Handful of lemon verbena
Handful of basil
Handful of mint
1 qt. or more of carbonated water of choice
1/4 cup squeezed lime
4-5 droppers of celery shrub or bitters
. . . add a splash of Prosecco if you're feeling it.
Add all the ingredients together and let cold-steep overnight, then sip leisurely.
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