1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced . inch thick
¾ cup tightly packed basil leaves
8 cups cold water
2 cups lemon juice, chilled
½ pound strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced . inch thick
¼ cup tightly packed, blemish-free basil leaves
For the syrup:
Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat.
Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Add the strawberries; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the strawberries have softened, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, add the basil leaves and stir to incorporate. Cool to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl; discard the solids. Cover the syrup and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the lemonade:
Pour the water, lemon juice and 1. cups of the strawberry-basil syrup into a 3-quart pitcher or punch bowl and stir to combine. Taste and add additional strawberry-basil syrup as needed. Add ice and garnish with the sliced strawberries and basil leaves.
For a cocktail: Add 1 ounce of Absolut Citron or other vodka to glass before adding the lemonade.
—From Christine Gallary