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Basil lemonade is a sweet tart, herbaceous, and refreshing summer drink! It’s easy to make with a quick infused syrup.

Basil Lemonade
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Got basil? Fresh basil leaves are pure gold: an abundance can make everything from fresh basil pesto to caprese salad and everything in between. Here’s a fun way to use this fresh herb: basil lemonade! It has a sweet tart, refreshing flavor with a pungent finish of basil to each sip. It’s simple to whip up at home with a quick infused basil syrup that brings that signature herbaceous pop. Here’s how to make it!

Ingredients for basil lemonade

Basil lemonade is fun to whip up at home and the perfect drink for impressing everyone (our son is one huge fan of homemade lemonade!). You’ll make a basil syrup that takes only a few minutes of hands on time, though you’ll need 30 minutes for the flavor to steep into the syrup. Keep in mind, this recipe is best in summer when you’ve got fresh basil to spare. It calls for 1 cup basil leaves, which can get expensive if you’re buying store-bought herbs. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Fresh basil
  • Lemons
  • Sugar

Can you use bottled lemon juice to make lemonade? No, it’s got to be the real thing! Bottled lemon juice has additives to make it last longer, which affect the flavor. The best homemade basil lemonade is made with real lemons!

Basil Lemonade

How to make basil lemonade (basic steps)

Homemade lemonade is simple: it just requires lots of lemons! You’ll need 7 to 8 large lemons to make a big pitcher. You can also consider making a half pitcher for a smaller quantity! Here are the basic steps for how to make basil lemonade (or jump to the recipe below for quantities):

  • Make the basil syrup. Dissolve equal parts water and sugar, then add basil and allow the leaves to steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Juice the lemons. Using a press juicer is the quickest way to juice lemons: it gets out the most juice without tiring out your fingers from squeezing. The next best choice? A handheld citrus juicer.
  • Mix the pitcher. Mix the basil syrup in a pitcher with the lemon juice and more cold water. Add ice and serve!
Basil Lemonade

Spiked variation: add vodka or gin!

For another variation on basil lemonade, try turning this recipe into a summer cocktail! It’s the perfect basis for a sweet tart summer drink. Simply combine 1 cup of this lemonade with 2 ounces (¼ cup) vodka. Or, try it with gin: add 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) per glass. Or, add limoncello to amp the lemony flavor: add 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) per glass.

Basil lemonade by the glass

Don’t want to make an entire pitcher of basil lemonade? This recipe makes 8 to 9 cups of lemonade, so it’s intended for parties or entertaining. You can make a big pitcher, but if you’re really just craving a glass, you can do that too! Here’s what to do:

  • Squeeze 3 tablespoons lemon juice into a glass. That’s 1 large lemon or 2 small.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of basil syrup and stir until it dissolves.
  • Add 1 cup cold water and a handful of ice. Water it down more if necessary. Enjoy!
Basil Lemonade

Storage info

The homemade basil syrup lasts up to 2 weeks refrigerated. But keep in mind, the flavor is freshest when it’s first made! Simple syrup lasts for even longer, but the basil flavor does dull over time.

More homemade lemonade recipes

This basil lemonade recipe is one in a lineup of fruity and herby lemonade flavors! Here are a few of our favorite ways to make lemonade:

This basil lemonade recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

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Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Rest Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
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Basil lemonade is a sweet tart, herbaceous, and refreshing summer drink! It’s easy to make with a quick infused syrup.


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed
  • 1 ½ cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (7 to 8 large lemons)*
  • 7 cups water, divided
  • Ice


  1. Add the sugar and 1 cup water to a small saucepan and heat until a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil leaves. Allow to steep until syrup is room temperature, about 30 minutes.*
  2. Strain out the basil leaves, then add the basil syrup to a large pitcher with 6 cups cold water and the lemon juice.  Add ice and serve.


*Or, make a variation by the glass. Make the basil syrup and refrigerate leftovers. To make the lemonade by the glass, use 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 tablespoons basil syrup, and 1 cup cold water. Add ice and serve!

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Lemonade
  • Diet: Vegan

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Yunus says:

    How can I sweeten lemonade without sugar?