I’m in a celebratory mood. I turned in my thesis, I’m feeling great, and my birthday is coming up. Everything is awesome. So for my first post featuring recipes and pictures in a long while, I’m headed toward the bar. Readers, meet the Basil-Gin Lemonade or as I like to call it, “The Nickelodeon”
Because this recipe is easy and fast I’m going to talk a little bit about the beautiful day I had, all structured around this little drink. I love it when food is a journey: when to get from Point A to Point B you travel a twisted path of unexpected pleasures and delights. What originally was meant to be a brief visit to the farmers market became a leisurely Saturday morning and a productive and enjoyable afternoon.
Almost everyday I go to Pure Grain, a German-style bakery, to do work. I am extremely productive there and it is a place where the same people come in everyday for their drinks, pastries, sandwiches, or card and gossip groups. In some ways it brings me back to whenever I would go into a local donut shop with grandparents every year and manage to see the same group of men drinking coffee at the same table. My sister Hannah and I have started a new tradition of going there every Sunday together to do work until mid afternoon. After, we walk across the plaza to Los Reyes to drink a margarita and snack on chips and guacamole.
But we decided to change it up last weekend. Sometimes we get a little envious of the people who sit down with actual plates and mugs and eat their cute pastries and drink their drinks. We always stick to coffee (a cappuccino for me because I still can’t drink coffee). Because I needed to go to the farmers market and pop into Pretty N Chic Furniture and Hannah needed to do work at Pure Grain, we decided to make a morning of it.
Saturday May 2nd was Vacaville’s first farmers market of the season. Even though it’s small, I love how much activity it brings to the downtown area. I wanted to try to get most of the ingredients for the drink there. I snagged some local honey because the “Honey Guy” was there, which I desperately needed because the grass is blooming now and my allergies are starting to act up. I bought apricots to make apricot jam, cilantro for a dip to go with the drink, and some massive lemons .
I had to go to the grocery store to buy the basil and gin but I was pretty happy with what I was able to get (the white peaches were delicious). After we bought our produce, we stepped into Pure Grain to buy our pastries and drinks.
A Special Treat at Pure Grain
Pure Grain was packed. The farmers market starts right outside of its doors and a lot of people had our same idea. As some of you may know, I used to be on a very strict SCD diet but I’ve recently been changing it up a little. I had been on it for almost 2 years and while it helped a lot, it did not keep me in remission. I’ve been adding things in here and there to see how I do. So far, I’ve noticed that I handle lactose, gluten, and grains fairly well. I’m fine if I only have small amounts.
One of the things I missed while on the SCD diet was puff pastries. I tried to make them with almond and coconut flour but without the gluten they just don’t turn out the same. So when I saw the puffy, flakey, and light apple turnover through the counter glass, I decided that it was going to be my special treat.
And a treat it was. After I finished eating it, I left my mom and sister to walk over to Pretty N Chic Furniture. The last time I was there I bought birthday presents for my mom but I saw a lot of things that would be great as food props.
Food Prop Shopping at Pretty N Chic Furniture
Pretty N Chic is a store that has all the things in it that I would need to set up a perfect home. I love it. The owner, Kimberly, is so bubbly and helpful. She paints and refinishes furniture and sells vintage and antique furnishings and home decor accents that are of the rustic and worn variety. I saw these mason jars and little wire tray set the first time I went into the store and kept thinking about it. Luckily they were still there and I bought it for this post.
I went back to Pure Grain with my purchases and hung out a little while longer but I wanted to get back home to start the photography process while the light was good. After a brief stop to buy basil and gin I was soon home snapping pictures of all the produce.
Basil-Gin Lemonade or “The Nickelodeon”
My sister went back to Pure Grain to work with a colleague (they are both teachers going through the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment-aka BTSA-Induction). I tried to time when I would be finished taking pictures to when she was done working. The only bad thing about alcoholic beverages is that you can’t really save them for later or drink them all yourself (well I guess you could try). I needed people to be around to drink! My mom doesn’t like alcohol so that left just Katy and Hannah (my sisters) and me to finish off the drinks. I asked Hannah if her colleague would want a drink too so that we could all have one serving each. Luckily she said yes and saved us from being drunk by 5:30.
I put the mason jars in the freezer so they would be frosted and just before I made the drink I dipped the rims in water and then into a container of margarita salt. To make this you just combine 3 cups water, 1 cup gin, 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup basil leaves (packed into the measuring cup), and 1 cup ice cubes in a blender and mix on high until there are no basil flakes left. Pour into the prepared glasses and you are ready to go.
Quick, easy, and painless. And oh so delicious. I think my favorite part of this drink is the smell. The basil, lemon, and gin smell so refreshing, clean, and cool-which makes it perfect for warm or hot spring and summer days. Today is Cinco de Mayo so if any of you have plans and need a quick drink to make, you should try this. Also I think it would make a good brunch drink to make for Mother’s Day.
Basil-Gin Lemonade or "The Nickelodeon"
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup gin or add 1/4 cup gin separately to each glass
- cup Juice from 2 lemons about a 1/2
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Margarita salt
Prep your glasses by dipping the edges in water and then into the margarita salt. Set aside.
Combine all the ingredients together in a high speed blender and blend on high until smooth.
Pour into the prepared glasses and serve.
Tricks and Tips
Chances are you will have a lot of basil leftover if you are making only one batch of drinks. To prevent waste you can use the leftovers to make a variety of other goodies. I combined the basil with the cilantro I bought at the farmers market to make pesto, which I then put into ice trays to freeze in two tablespoon sized servings. Here’s a link to a Pesto Recipe in case your inspired.