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Vanilla Basil Lemonade

Vanilla basil lemonade in glass
Vanilla Basil Lemonade

This recipe and photography were provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at 

Nothing says “summer” like fresh basil and lemonade. If you are lucky enough to have a purple basil plant in your herb garden, by all means use it. The purple leaves will turn your lemonade a lovely shade of pink.

It’s that easy: The vanilla adds an unexpected note to this lemonade and is worth the price of the vanilla bean. After making the lemonade, leave the bean to dry out on your kitchen counter for a few days then wrap it up and pop it in the freezer to use a second or even a third time when making this delicious drink.

Vanilla Basil Lemonade

Vanilla Basil Lemonade

Serves 6


  • 3 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 cup basil leaves, lightly torn
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Fizzy or seltzer water
  • Lemon wedges, for garnish (optional)
  • Basil sprigs, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat the water, vanilla bean, basil leaves and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the water comes to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat and cover it with a lid. Let the mixture steep for about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture. (Do not scrape the vanilla bean, simply lay it out to dry on your counter and use it again the next time you make basil lemonade.) Add the lemon juice and chill.
  2. Divide the lemonade among 6 tall, ice-filled glasses, top with about 1/4 cup fizzy water and garnish with lemon wedges and basil sprigs.
  3. To make this beverage more adult, pour the lemonade over ice into short rocks glasses along with a 2 oz. shot of vodka, rum or tequila. Fizzy water optional.

Make-ahead: This lemonade can be made up to 4 days in advance.

Vanilla Basil Lemonade

Click Here to Print the Recipe for Vanilla Basil Lemonade.

Carla Snyder in her kitchen
By Carla Snyder
Carla has spent the past 30 years in the food world as a caterer, artisan baker, cooking school teacher, food writer and author of 6 cook books including the James Beard nominated Big Book of Appetizers. Her passion is sharing fresh, cooked-from-scratch weeknight meals that cut prep time and practically eliminate that nightly sink full of dishes.

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