Honey-Basil Lemonade

This is not lemonade. 

This is a vehicle for vodka. Or a topper to a crisp champagne. 

Helene Henderson in her re-issued cookbook, Malibu Farm Cookbook (2014), will try to convince you that you should drink this lovely little concoction without a little hooch.  She'll even tell you that you can make lemonade when life gives you lemons. And I say, mix that lemonade up with something stronger, and sweet business, you have a sweet, herby, tart drink worthy of any summer backyard.

This latest cookbook comes to us as we're prepping for those upcoming sultry summer days. I get it, those of you in Colorado cannot fathom such a future, given that Loveland just got 15 inches of snow in the last 72 hours, and my New Yorker friends suffered through a baseball game where the weather was more appropriate for a Jets tailgate. 

I get it. Summery lemonade may not even be registering. However, Henderson is promising us Malibu, promising us all fresh Californian cuisine and simple preparations. Malibu Farm is a small Southern Californian business stationed at the end of a pier and comes complete with a cafe, restaurant, and a commitment to small, local farms. Chef-owner Henderson's cookbook boasts oversized pages with breathtaking photography (including a picture of her walking her goats on the beach). This cookbook is aspirational as it is inspirational. So let's start slicing up those lemons and make some lemonade, despite when the weather forecast has been.

Admittedly, I did start with a mighty easy recipe, and the rest of the cookbook promises to be just as inviting.  Watch out Shrimp with Farro and White Beans or Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken--I am coming for you. Only after I have indulged in the Smoked Salmon-Ricotta Scramble (we take brunch seriously here in California) or the Burrata, Nectarine, and Arugula Salad with Sesame Seed Candy (why, oh why is it not nectarine season yet). 

Let's toast the summer, even though it's not here for anyone yet. But let's raise our glasses high, my friends, for I am as ready as can be for those warm days and cool nights, that layer of fog fingering the coast line, and sweet, sweet glasses of lemonade.


Honey-Basil Lemonade
Adapted from Malibu Farm Cookbook

2 Quarts

3/4 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
1 handful of basil, leaved only
6 cups water

1. In a blender, combine honey, lemon juice, and basil. Process until the honey is emulsified into the juice.

2.  Strain the basil leaves.  Combine the remaining lemon-honey mixture with the 6 cups of water and serve on ice.


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