Category Archives: Cocktails

Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade

Basil Lemonade

It’s summertime, and summertime equals lemonade. This lemonade is perfect alone, but also serves as a great mixer for an adult version of lemonade (add your favorite vodka). I make a batch of the syrup and reserve some of it to add to fizzy (sparkling) water or iced tea, or you can make two batches of lemonade with one batch of syrup. The basil flavor is subtle but distinct. Since it’s concert in the park season, I’m a lemonade kick -so look for more recipes to come.


  • 4 Cups Basil (plus extra leaves for garnish)
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • Zest of 3-4 Lemons*
  • 1 1/4 Cups Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice (use more if desired)
  • Water
  • Ice

*Use a vegetable peeler for large strips of zest. Reserve lemons for juice.


Add basil, lemon zest, sugar and 4 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool for 1 hour.  Transfer to a container and chill in refrigerator until completely cooled. Strain through a fine sieve and reserve syrup (makes about 4 cups basil lemon syrup).basil lemonade syrup

Combine 2 cups of basil lemon syrup with 1 1/4 cups of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 cups of cold water, and 2 cups of ice. Taste, and add more water or lemon juice as desired. Garnish with fresh lemon slices and extra basil leaves.



Homemade Bloody Mary Mix

Classic Bloody Mary

Without going into a lot of detail, let me just say that I was forced into making my own Bloody Mary mix, and I am all the happier for it. I used Clamato juice (again, long story not worthy of repetition), but I think I would prefer this made with V-8 juice. Let me say, however, that the Clamato juice has no “clammy” taste whatsoever, but it is a significantly thinner product than V-8. But let’s be honest, it’s the accoutrements that make it all worthwhile. I served my Bloody Mary in a simple fashion with just a celery salted rim and a celery stalk, but that was merely because I didn’t have the other good stuff to add…olives, pickle spear, or whatever else you fancy. This mix is not super spicy, but I would have made it so had I thought that people other than me and my Bloody Mary teacher friend would have liked it. So, if you’re like me, add to the heat by adding additional hot sauce (I recommend a green chili sauce if you want a really fiery taste). Horseradish is a key component; and while it adds to the heat, it also adds a lot of horseradish flavor that may be overpowering, so use that to your liking.


  • 64 Oz. Clamato or V-8 Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Citrus Salt (or substitute regular salt)
  • 1 1/4 tsp. Celery Seed
  • 1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (red chili flakes)
  • 1/2- 1 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 TBS. Hot Sauce (your favorite, or whatever you have in the refrigerator)
  • 1 TBS. Horseradish

FOR GARNISH (all optional):

  • 1 Lemon (for juice)
  • 1 TBS. Celery salt
  • Celery
  • Green Olives
  • Pickle Spear


Combine all ingredients in a blender or large pitcher. Pour celery salt onto a saucer or shallow rimmed bowl. To make Bloody Mary’s: Use lemon to coat the top edges of glass and then twist around in celery salt.  Add ice, 1 shot of vodka (use Pepper Vodka for added spice) and Bloody Mary mix to the salted glass. Garnish and enjoy.

Blood Orange Grapefruit Mimosa

Grapefruit and Blood Orange Mimosa

Mimosas are a long-standing weekend tradition in our house. Lately, I’ve been making them with Ruby Red Grapefruit juice, but now that it is Blood Orange season, I had to add a little twist. I didn’t have enough blood oranges to go totally solo with the blood orange juice, so I combined 1/2 blood orange juice and 1/2 ruby red grapefruit juice. The result was nothing short of perfection. Use whatever ratio suits you (even 100% blood orange juice), but take advantage of the short blood orange season which typically only runs from late January – April. I don’t use actual champagne, but substitute a delightful Spanish cava, Segura Viudas Brut Reserva, which is very reasonably priced ($7.99 at Trader Joe’s and $8.99 at my high-end grocery store).  Blood oranges can likely be found in your local grocery store – sometimes they are labeled by their variety “Moro” or “Tarocco.” They are usually recognizable because their skin has a red hue, but sometimes they are just orange in color. In fact, I’ve found that a deeper red on the outside doesn’t always translate to a deeper color inside. The Taroccos are said to have more flavor, but they do have more seeds, and I don’t find them readily available.  Blood oranges are very healthy, so you can feel better about indulging a little on a weekend morning. Enjoy!