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I had the most amazing drink,
"Basil-lime elixir" at Gingergrass in the Silverlake district of Los
Angeles a couple of weeks ago. The food was terrific, but I was
bowled over by this drink, which combines some of my favorite
flavors--basil, lime, and mint--that I immediately started to create
something like it. This is the result. I consider it still
a work in progress, but already a pretty amazing drink. It takes
a lot of basil, and there is an overnight step, so planning ahead is a
A lot of basil, at least 4 ounces leaves and stems
A little mint, one or two stalks of spearmint or a teaspoon or two dried
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Sparkling water, 1-2 liters, chilled
Rinse and chop the basil and mint coarsely, stems and all.
Boil the water and sugar together briefly. I microwaved them in a
pyrex dish but in a pot on the stove should also do fine.
Stir the basil and mint into the simple syrup. Let them sit out at room temperature until the syrup mix is lukewarm.
Puree the combined mixture in a blender *very carefully* to avoid a splattering sticky sickly green mess.
Optional: shave the zest from several limes, and add the zest to the puree.
Steep the herb/syrup puree overnight in the refrigerator.
Strain the puree. [Note:
The herb-infused syrup should keep for a few days or a week in
the refrigerator, if you will not use it all at once. If you plan
to save some, wait to add the lime juice until you're ready to drink
Juice the limes and add to the syrup, starting with about 1/2 cup of
juice, until you like the sour/sweet balance. Dilute to taste
with sparkling water, starting with about 3 parts sparkling water to
Serve over ice with a sprig of basil or mint.
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