This juice combines the delicate, floral sweetness of Asian pear with sophisticated, complex basil and a generous splash of bright, tart lemon. A little bit of celery brings it all together for a smooth finish. It's interesting without being too crazy, as evidenced by the fact that my two pre-teen taste testers not only didn't roll their eyes at it but seemed to genuinely enjoy it.
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I planted a ton of basil this year, hoping to use it in a classic tomato-and-mozzarella salad and sprinkled on grilled pizza. But as my basil plants begin to shoot up above the planter's rim, I'm starting to dream big. And for me, that means drinks.
A few weeks ago I found myself with a bushel of basil—I was in over my head with bunches of the herb and needed to use them up asap. After making the prerequisite pestos, I ventured into pizza and even a basil and lime sorbet, which got me thinking. Those two flavors are perfect summer partners—refreshing and full of flavor—so they can only get better with the addition of a little booze, right?
When we asked Cotogna's bar manager what cocktail ingredients he's into right now, we expected some crazy new vermouth or extra-rare bitters, but he answered simply: "Opal basil. It's super beautiful," he says. He uses it to crown a cocktail named Crystal Beach after the Canadian amusement park he visited as a kid. Here's the recipe so you can make this summer drink at home.
Nothing says refreshing like a cool glass of lemonade, especially when it's made from scratch. And with strawberry season at hand, we recommend that you incorporate those sweet red gems into your lemonade, too.