Earlier this week, I got message from an Instagram follower who was planning a happy hour. He wanted to know my go-to summer drink. That was an easy one! It’s this sparkling whiskey lemonade with basil and mint.
I’ve been serving this shit since before I was a person who really made cocktails, and I could drink it all damn day, every day and not get sick of it. It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s herbal, it’s bubbly, and it’s boozy. Of course, it could be made without the bubbles or the booze and it would still be good. And if you’d rather make it with just basil or mint, that’s fine, too, but they work really well together in this super-summery drink.
Actually, forget everything I just said. You should definitely make it with everything. It’s really fucking good that way.
I like to serve my sparkling whiskey lemonade in a tall tumbler or Collins glass. I mean, isn’t there some saying about something being a tall glass of something? Or a tall drink of something? Is it water? Lemonade? Paint thinner? I don’t even know. All I know is this drink is refreshing as fuck and I want a lot of it and that requires a tall glass, okay? If you want to go even bigger, it’s easy to make ahead in large batches (just hold off on the club soda and ice until it’s time to party).
Speaking of large batches, this drink does require a lot of lemon juice. I get that. And I know I always say if you use anything other than fresh-squeezed citrus juice in your cocktails you’re a god-damn monster. I still stand by that. But… if you’re making a lot of this and just can’t seem to keep up with the squeezing of the lemons, you can use bottled juice. JUST THIS ONE TIME. If you’re gonna go that route, I really like the Santa Cruz stuff. It’s not cheap. But you know what? Time is money and sometimes you’re trying to throw a party and you don’t have time to squeeze seven million tiny little dry-ass grocery store lemons. Of course, if you do want to squeeze your own lemons, just do it while your basil-mint simple syrup is simmering. (See? I just saved you some time. You’re welcome.)
Sparkling Whiskey Lemonade with Basil and Mint
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup basil-mint simple syrup
2 ounces whiskey
Lemon wheel or basil or mint sprig for garnish
Add the lemon juice, syrup, and whiskey to the glass. Add a handful of ice, then top off with club soda. Garnish and enjoy!
Basil-Mint Simple Syrup
To make the basil-mint simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup (minimum) fairly loosely packed basil and/or mint leaves (some stems are fine, too) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and your entire house smells like fucking summer. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for another 15 to 30 minutes. Strain using a fine mesh sieve and discard the herbs, then set aside or refrigerate the syrup to cool. This will make about 1 cup (to make more, just use equal parts everything and a bigger pot) and the extra will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for at least two weeks, but probably longer.
Like what you see? Follow me on Instagram!