When it comes to cocktails, you want them to have a little flair. The traditional Arnold Palmer is a combination of lemonade and iced tea, pretty simple. To give this version a twist I added some basil simple syrup and a splash of bourbon for a great summer cocktail.
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My friend Alison has always wanted to write a book. For as long as I’ve known her she has been working on several different books. Right before I left Chicago in May of 2018 we all met up for brunch and she told us she had an agent. It was such exciting news!
Fast forward to April 2020 and her first book, You and Me and Us was just published! She asked me if I would create a drink/cocktail inspired by some specific chapters of the book, which is how this Basil Bourbon Arnold Palmer was born!
Making Simple Syrup
Making simple syrup is, well, super simple! To start it’s just water and sugar, in equal parts. Bring it to a low boil on the stove and then simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves. Then let it cool and you’re done.
You can infuse just about any flavor you like. In this case we are using fresh basil leaves to give the cocktail a unique flavor.
Simple syrup keeps in the refrigerator for about a month. I like to store it in a mason jar! 🙂
One thing that makes cocktails so fun is the ability to easily customize them to your taste. Add something extra, leave something out. It’s a fun way to experiment with different flavors. Here are a few options you might want to try.
- Bourbon not your thing? Replace the bourbon with vodka.
- Prefer a more citrus/fruit-forward option? Replace the bourbon with limoncello, but only use a half an ounce.
- Prefer green tea over black tea? Go ahead and make the substitution!
- Just want a great summer drink? Leave the alcohol out!
things you might want for this recipe
Mason jars – Mason jars have tons of uses in the kitchen, from storing leftovers to mixing sauces and dressings. But one of my favorite fun uses of them is serving cocktails!
Mighty Leaf Tea – This happens to be my personal favorite when it comes to tea, but any brand of high-quality tea that you prefer works for this drink.
Bourbon Arnold Palmer
For the simple syrup:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 3 fresh basil leaves
- For the cocktail:
- 1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
- 4 ounces of cold water
- 2 - 4 tablespoons basil simple syrup
- 2 cups of freshly brewed black tea
- 2 - 3 ounces of bourbon
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish, optional
- Make the simple syrup. Add the sugar, water and basil to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain to remove the basil leaves.
- Make the lemonade. Pour the water and lemon juice into a large pitcher. Stir to combine. Stir in simple syrup to taste (start with about a tablespoon).
- Make the cocktail. Add ice to two glasses or mason jars. Divide the lemonade between the two glasses. Add half of the tea to each glass. Top with bourbon and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!
- Unless you like very sweet drinks you'll likely have leftover simple syrup. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a month.