Lemon-Basil Sorbet (and Cocktail!)

It’s official. SPRING is here! The weather this weekend was perfectly sunny and warm, the kind of weather that requires wearing flip-flops (because you can) and sunscreen (because you must). Even after a mediocre winter like we’ve had in Park City, suddenly every patio is full of sun-seekers. Hillsides turn green overnight. Bouquets of tulips find themselves in your grocery basket. And instead of the heavier comfort food of winter, your taste buds start craving warm weather things (like this homemade lemon-basil sorbet). IMG_8059 IMG_8116 IMG_8138IMG_8061 I haven’t used my ice cream maker since last summer, but I was inspired by the flavors in the scrumptious gelato from our recent dinner at Cortona Italian Café. A little research showed that not only could I replicate the lemony-basil goodness myself, but I could do it with just 3 ingredients (that I already had on hand)! Done and done. P1190907 P1190908 I started by making a simple basil syrup by boiling a heaping cup of sugar and some water on the stove. When the sugar had dissolved, I added a big handful of fresh basil leaves, removed the pan from the heat, and put a lid on it. P1190909 P1190910 P1190912 P1190914 P1190913 P1190915 P1190917 P1190918 P1190920 After about 20 minutes, I strained out the basil leaves and let the syrup cool. Then I added the zest and juice of a couple of lemons and popped the mixture in the fridge for a bit. The ice cream maker took over from here: I simply poured in the lemony-basil mixture into it, switched it on, and walked away. After a half an hour, I had delicious sorbet! A dip of my spoon revealed a tartly sweet and herbal flavor that simply screams sunshine. I transferred the sorbet into freezable containers to harden up even more. P1190922 P1190925 P1190927 P1190930 P1190931 P1190932 P1190933 Later that evening, instead of squeezing lemon into my cocktail, I scooped some sorbet into a glass with some ice, vodka, and soda. Brilliant! P1190934 P1190935 P1190936 P1190937 P1190939 As I type, a sprinkle of rain has turned into sleet. Such is springtime in Park City, and we definitely need the moisture, so I can’t complain. The warm days will be here to stay soon enough…and I can taste a little bit of springtime any time I’d like, straight from my freezer. Cheers to the season ahead! Lemon-Basil Sorbet You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 heaping cup basil leaves
  • Juice and zest of 2-3 lemons

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil. When the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat, add the basil leaves, and put the lid on. Allow to steep for a half an hour, then strain and discard the basil leaves. Let the basil syrup cool completely. Add the lemon zest and juice. Pour it into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet into freezable containers and freeze to harden more. Serve on a spring day (or on a day when you wish it was more spring-like). Yum! Lemon-Basil Cocktail For one drink, you’ll need:

  • 2-3 small scoops of lemon-basil sorbet
  • 1.5 shots vodka
  • Soda to taste (about 1/3 cup)

Scoop the sorbet into an old-fashioned glass. Add the vodka and a few ice cubes. Pour in 1/3 cup soda, or more if desired. Garnish with a basil leaf. Clink a glass to springtime. Yum! Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page The New 52: A recipe for each week in 2015. One year ago: Welcoming spring with good friends, gnocchi, and pond-skimming.


  1. I just bought an ice cream maker (I think it’s the same one you have) and have been having a blast trying to think of new flavors. I made a lemon bar ice cream the other night, but this lemon basil sorbet sounds amazing. And to be able to turn it into a cocktail?!?! Pinning right now!

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