Fresh strawberries and basil turn the drink kids love to make and sell into a sophisticated booze-free refreshment. Add plenty of ice to keep it cold.

What to buy: Although bottled lemon juice works just fine in this recipe, it’s worth checking the refrigerated aisle for freshly squeezed lemon juice. If you’re feeling ambitious, squeeze the juice yourself (you’ll need about 14 lemons), straining out the pulp and seeds.

This recipe was featured as part of our Nonalcoholic Summer Sippers photo gallery.

  • Yield: 12 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 5 mins

Ingredients (9)

For the strawberry-basil syrup:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves

For the lemonade:

  • 8 cups cold water
  • 2 cups lemon juice, chilled
  • Ice
  • 1/2 pound strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced 1/2 inch thick, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed, blemish-free basil leaves, for garnish


For the strawberry-basil syrup:

  1. Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over high heat and 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Pour the water, lemon juice, and 1 1/2 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.