Remember all those strawberries I picked a few weeks back? While most went into the freezer for future storage, I used a few cups to make a variety of simple syrups for drinks. It’s a simple way to spruce up beverages (hence the term “simple syrup”) and so easy to make.

All you need is a base of sugar and water, usually using 2 parts sugar to 1 part water for a true syrup that is thick and full of flavor. Don’t worry, a little goes a long way and it’s easily mixed with a variety of beverages from soda water to wine. This year I experimented with a few different kinds of syrup, one being strawberry-ginger that was mixed into bourbon for a bit of a flavor kick. My favorite was strawberry-basil-lemon, perfect for a non-alcoholic summer beverage when mixed with sparkling water or an adult beverage when adding a shot of vodka.

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These syrups freeze easily too so I stashed a couple small jars to use when summer starts to end so I can remember the oh-so-sweet taste of fresh strawberries when it’s not oh-so-sweet outside.

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Strawberry Basil Lemon Simple Syrup

2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup water
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup chopped strawberries
2 sprigs fresh basil

In a saucepan, bring sugar, water, and lemon juice to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, add chopped strawberries and basil. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 hour to incorporate the flavors. Lightly mash the berries with a fork to infuse even more flavor into the mix. Strain and refrigerate in a sealed jar for 2 weeks or longer in the freezer.

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To serve, add 1-2 tablespoons simple syrup to sparkling water and stir to combine.

(credit: Crystal Grobe)

(credit: Crystal Grobe)