Weeknight Cooking

Lemon, Ginger, Basil Cooler

March 18, 2012

Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.

Lemon, Ginger, Basil Cooler


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How to host a sleep over party for a group of 13-year-old girls, a step by step guide: 

1. Go to Target and buy a lot of paper towels. Whatever else happens, many things will spill. 

2. Consider elaborate lasagna preparations. Go to the store for the ingredients; come home instead with a large bunch of basil, a bottle of sauvignon blanc and a coupon for the local pizza place. 

3. While you mix up Amanda’s dump-it cake, listen calmly as your daughter informs you there will be two extra guests she “forgot she invited.” Start simmering basil in sugar water for your Lemon, Ginger, Basil Cooler.

4. Clean up pizza boxes from the porch table while the girls run screaming through the yard, frightening the dog and upsetting the neighbors, the latter of which you find uninteresting given a recent incident involving police and beer cans and the fact that one mom from school cruises all the block parties with an empty Redskins cup, looking for a fill. Take basil syrup off the stove to cool. Set the cake platter among the 10 pink cell phones. 

5. Clean up ice cream. Wipe cake frosting off the floor. Send the teenage guests to the basement to watch “16 Candles.” As you deliver pillows to their lair, tell them you share a birthday with Molly Ringwald. After the girls stare incredulously at your face, perhaps in search of Moses, feel a bit deflated, and go upstairs and start mixing up your drink. If possible, do so in a jar as cjzern suggests. Find the mixture too sweet, add more ice, and a generous squeeze of lime. 

6. Get everyone extra blankets. Take call from a mother who informs you with no shortage of irritation that she had no idea about this party and will be retrieving her daughter for church at 8 am. The ice has melted in your drink now, reducing the sweetness. You can taste the ginger now. Add a dash more lime and fresh cubes. Take a large sip, sigh heavily and repair to your Twitter feed. Read about something called brackets. Go to bed.

PS: I made this the next day with gin, and only a teaspoon of the basil syrup and no lime. Divine, a much more round and herbal drink than the vodka version IMHO. This version is going to be my summer drink, when my basil comes in and Congress goes home.


Lemon Ginger Basil Cooler by cjzern

Serves 1

Lemon, Ginger, Basil Cooler:

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce ginger liqueur (I used Domaine de Canton)
1 to 1.5 ounce basil-infused simple syrup (to taste)
Lemon Soda (I used San Pellegrino's Limonata)

Basil-Infused Simple Syrup:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup basil

See the Whole recipe (and save it and print it) here. 


Photo by Nicole Franzen

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Written by: Jestei

The ratio of people to cake is too big.


tvwells April 9, 2012
The commentary is as good as the drink. I made it both without vodka and with and it was equally refreshing and wonderful.

Sagegreen March 22, 2012
Just now catching up with your Monday post on Thursday....during what was supposed to be a week off. So thanks especially for such a refreshing cooler. What a treat it is to celebrate summer before it is even spring, regardless of pesky work.
enbe March 19, 2012
This is just what I want. How did you know?!
cjzern March 19, 2012
Oh, I'm so glad you added the note about the gin - I made that transition sometime after posting the original drink and couldn't agree more!
carol_tanenbaum March 19, 2012
OH YES! Cannot wait for basil (and the retreat of Congress) season. Might have to start early. Thanks!
Bevi March 19, 2012
Yes - it's that time of year to experiment and decide on summer salvation.
Tracy A. March 19, 2012
Um, yes - I think I'd love this!