Basil, an easy-to-grow summer herb, is delicious tossed into fresh garden salads, stirred into cheesy pasta dishes, or tucked into a juicy bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Try this basil simple syrup in a cool refreshing summer cocktail or a comforting mug of hot tea. Mix sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar melts. Toss in fresh basil leaves and let simmer. Remove the leaves, let syrup cool a bit, then pour syrup into an airtight container. You can refrigerate the simple syrup, which has an interesting spearmint-y quality, for up to two weeks. To keep store-bought basil fresh once you get it home, remove the basil from the packaging and trim the stems. Place basil in a drinking glass or mason jar filled with water and remove any leaves that fall below the waterline. Store at room temperature in a sunny, but not hot, spot, and change the water daily.

Southern Living


Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe Summary test

5 mins
30 mins
about 7/8 cup


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Stir together water and sugar in a saucepan over high until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add basil; let come to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, stirring often, 3 minutes.

  • Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a small heatproof bowl; discard solids. Let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use or up to 2 weeks. To use, stir into iced teas, cocktails, or other beverages.