Wednesday, July 20, 2022

From Seed to Bottle: A Tale of Low Effort Lemon Basil Liqueur

I've killed countless 'live' basil and mint plants optimistically purchased from the supermarket. Somehow, the plants go from healthy in the store, to dead in record time. I've tried growing them inside and out, all with the same black-thumb results.

So when I picked up some lemon-basil seeds at the plant nursery on a whim I didn't have high hopes. Still, I made a shallow trench in a spot in our back yard and distributed the seeds in it.

The seeds were so very tiny, and I was putting so little effort into this, I couldn't imagine this project was going to go anywhere.

And yet, against all odds, I found myself with a thriving lemon basil plant.

It was at this point that I learned that Shira liked regular basil and not lemon basil. Who knew? So yeah, I've still failed to meet our most basic need of having fresh basil around. But now I've got plenty of fresh lemon basil.

Personally, I think the stuff smells wonderful. I've experimented with using it to infuse water, as an additive to black tea and we've tossed it into various dishes we're cooking. And yet, I've found myself with more basil than I knew what to do with. So I got to wondering, can I use it to make some sort of flavored alcohol? The short answer: I can!

Lemon Basil Liqueur

I roughly followed this recipe. It turns out, making basil liqueur is super easy.

Step 1: Fill up a glass jar with as many leaves as possible.

Step 2: Fill up the jar with Everclear.

Step 3: Let the jar sit on the counter for a couple of days (24 hours is probably fine, this process goes crazy fast). I swirled the jar every so often, but that's probably not needed.

Step 4: Strain the Everclear and dispose of the now limp and gray'ish leaves. The result is an intriguing green liquid.

Step 5: Following these proportions I made a 1:1:2 mixture of the green Everclear, plain water and simple syrup. Yeah, that's a lot of syrup.

Step 6: Enjoy! The taste is quite good. Again, with that much simple syrup, you know the result is going to be relatively tasty. But in this case, the lemony basily flavor of the lemon basil comes through quite nicely and the sum of the parts really do make for a tasty concoction.

The real test was when I served this drink to my parents and they enjoyed it.

If you drink alchol and have lemon basil on hand, you've got to try this recipe. Between the green color and sweet and lemony taste, this is a winner.

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