Fizzy and floral strawberry basil sodas combine sweet macerated strawberries with fresh basil leaves for a flavorful and refreshing mocktail you’ll want to sip on all Summer long.
The hubby unexpectedly had the morning off from work yesterday, and as if getting the chance to enjoy a leisurely breakfast together wasn’t enough, he offered to take me on a strawberry picking date.
Mere moments after he uttered the words, shoes were on, keys and camera were in hand, and we were headed to Picha Farms, a third generation u-pick berry (and pumpkin) farm, in the farm-dotted countryside about a half hour east of us.
We picked just a few pints worth (this took extreme restraint) of petite scarlet berries, so ripe that by the time we got back home I knew they needed to make their way into a recipe, stat.
Too hot to turn on the oven, I thought the little red beauties, mixed with some sugar, vanilla, and fresh basil from the garden, would make a perfect addition to the sparkling water I drink all Summer long.
As a quick aside, while u-pick fields of all varieties may be dominated by moms with toddlers (and rogue food bloggers), bending over rows of ripe berries in the bright sun is a good – albeit brief – reminder that farm labor is hard, hard work.
It’s fun to spend fifteen or so minutes filling up a few pint baskets with juicy, vibrant berries (and I look forward to these days every Spring and Summer), but the real laborers who spend hours, every day of the week picking our produce deserve major respect and support. It’s hot, strenuous, backbreaking work, that generally pays very little. And it’s not lost on me that I’m incredibly privileged to go berry picking “for fun.”
Okay, stepping off the soapbox!
About these mocktails. Let’s get one thing out of the way first: yes, these strawberry basil sodas could absolutely very easily be cocktails.
Just add a shot or two of your favorite liquor to the muddle mix (I would suggest gin as a first choice, vodka second).
But since I’m not currently drinking, I thought I’d make these family friendly. I’m a lightweight even on a good day, so going the mocktail route also means more strawberry goodness to enjoy throughout an afternoon.
The ingredients list on these sodas is simple: syrupy macerated strawberries, fresh basil, and your favorite soda water. A few fresh berries for garnish. Done and done.
The basil leaves get muddled with the sweet macerated strawberries, adding an earthy, freshness that mellows out the sweetness of the berries, and imparts tons of herb-y flavor. Paired with bubbly soda water (I unabashedly love Le Croix), they both sing.
It’s expected to be in the mid-nineties this weekend, which in pregnant lady temperatures means more like a hundred and ninety. So I’m going to need all the sweet strawberry basil sodas I can get, and I plan on drinking these all. day. long.
Wishing you a delicious weekend!
p.s. I promise I’ll take a break from strawberries for a while… I think I’ve mostly moved on to raspberries. And blueberries. And the occasional blackberry… 😉
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped or torn
- sparking water (I like Le Croix)
- fresh strawberries, for serving
- In a large mixing bowl combine the chopped strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or even better, overnight.
- To serve, add a heaping spoonful of the strawberries and syrup to a glass. Add a few torn basil leaves and muddle to combine. Add ice, and a shot of gin or vodka, as desired. Top with 8 oz of sparkling water and garnish with fresh strawberries. Stir and enjoy!