Sparkling Cucumber-Basil Limeade

by Amy on 10 July 2013

Sparkling Cucumber-Basil LimeadeIt’s summertime, which means it’s hot + humid. Very hot, + very humid, to be precise. To me, that’s the perfect weather for light, refreshing drinks. So, the other day, I decided to make this new-to-me twist on limeade. The original recipe called for this to be Cucumber-Mint Limeade, not Cucumber-Basil. When I started making this recipe, I got the lime syrup started on the stovetop, then ran outside the garden to cut some fresh mint. Uh oh – Our big container of fresh mint? Was very dead.

I panicked for a second, then remembered that we grow all sorts of other fresh herbs. Surely there was something else alive + well that I could substitute? I spotted some gloriously healthy-looking basil + decided that would do. And wouldn’t you know it? In the end, I’m glad I was forced to make that substitution. The cucumber, basil + lime all work SO well together. The end result is absolutely delicious – bright, crisp, citrusy, + fresh, with just the right hint of sweetness. I loved it as a non-alcoholic drink, but for those of you wanting to spice it up, try adding a splash of rum, or substituting sparkling wine instead of sparkling water. I know that you’ll love it either way!

Sparkling Cucumber-Basil Limeade

Sparkling Cucumber-Basil Limeade

serves 4-6, adapted from Every Day With Rachael Ray


1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest, plus 1 cup fresh lime juice (4 to 6 limes)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1 medium English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
2 cups chilled sparkling water


In a small saucepan, bring the sugar, lime zest + 1 cup water to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat + stir in the basil leaves. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Strain the lime/basil syrup through a sieve into a pitcher. Add the cucumber + lime juice; refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Just before serving, add the sparkling water. Serve over ice.

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn July 10, 2013 at 7:45 am

I love that you changed up the mint for basil, what a great addition and such a lovely and refreshing combination of flavours!

2 Leah | So, How's It Taste? July 10, 2013 at 7:59 am

Ooo, that sounds incredibly refreshing! You know basil is in the mint family, so I’m not surprised it made such a good sub!

3 amy July 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

I actually didn’t know that basil was in the mint family … that explains why it was such a good substitute. You learn something new every day! =)

4 Natalie July 10, 2013 at 8:39 am

I love adding cucumber to drinks, such a refreshing flavour! This limeade looks perfect!

5 alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] July 10, 2013 at 9:46 am

cucumber + lime are already favorites for me, so adding in basil sounds like a delicious twist! this should be a staple in the fridge for great front porch sipping.

6 dixya| food, pleasure, and health July 10, 2013 at 10:12 am

basil is such a beautiful thing – goes so well with drinks, salads, or pasta sauce.

7 Elizabeth July 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

I definitely know the feeling of walking outside to pick an herb and seeing it wilted and sad! However, basil sounds so wonderful with cucumber and I love limeade, so this looks so delicious and refreshing.

8 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking July 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Holy moly! Pass me a glass! You have no idea how badly we need this here in Austin… well, actually, yes you do. You live in Nashville! Love this, Amy.

9 Adri July 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm

This sounds great, quite the happy accident I’d say. Good for you to move on and improvise once you saw your late lamented mint. I love basil simple syrup, and I use it in all sorts of preparations all summer long. From lemonade, to fruit salads and basil smoothies, it comes in quite handy.

Your drink looks beautiful, and the variations all sound tempting. I must try it!

I thrilled to see that you are your busy self. It seems motherhood agrees with you. I hope Baby and Dad are likewise doing well.


10 amy July 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Thank you so much for your kind words, Adri! And aren’t happy cooking accidents just the best? I love it when things work out exactly as they should in the kitchen, even if that means a few improvises + last-minute changes. =)

11 Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen July 10, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Oh Amy these look so refreshing and beautiful!

12 CCU July 10, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Lovely refreshing drink, I love cucumbers 😀


13 Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry July 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm

This drink looks incredibly refreshing! And I love that you swapped the mint for basil.

14 Kumar's Kitchen July 11, 2013 at 2:45 am

The best limeade ever, so refreshing, can sip it even while it is raining…great

15 danielle July 11, 2013 at 8:53 am

This sounds great and the cucumbers in my garden should be coming in soon!

16 Jessica@AKitchenAddiction July 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

What a perfect combination for a refreshing summer drink!

17 Lesley Eats July 11, 2013 at 9:38 am

Well, you know I’m not upset about your dead mint. I think it was meant to be. This sounds delicious! :)

18 cquek July 11, 2013 at 9:40 am

a perfect combination, i just love to have 2 glasses

19 ashley - baker by nature July 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

So pretty! So refreshing! So… perfect!

20 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef July 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

what a great combo! special drinks make summer so fun :)

21 Jackie l July 11, 2013 at 5:06 pm

I think I like the cucumber basil mix better than cucumber mint. Really I’m down with any fresh herb – you can’t go wrong.

xo Jackie

22 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl July 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm

This is a perfect summer drink!!

23 Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) July 12, 2013 at 6:40 am

After the heat this week, something like this is totally welcome in my house! It looks so refreshing and crisp and delicious.

24 Kalyan July 12, 2013 at 11:10 am

Just mouthwatering….looks delicious!

25 Beth July 14, 2013 at 6:17 am

Basil sounds like a great last-minute addition. I’m glad you found a substitute!

26 Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts July 14, 2013 at 3:44 pm

This looks so wonderful–I can’t kill mint no matter how hard I try, so it’s funny to me that yours was dead. Of course, I never thought to corral it in a container, mine just flows all over the place. Here I’ve planted the mint where it’s boxed in by the driveway and can’t go all over.

27 amy July 14, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Kirsten, I can’t figure out how the heck we killed it – mint is SO hardy that it’s usually impossible to kill! And we used to grow it right in the ground, too – until it started taking over our entire garden. After that, we dug it up + moved it to a container, where it did great for about a year … until its recent demise. =P

28 Meghan July 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm

So refreshing & so pretty! Sounds perfect with the basil!

29 Jennie @themessybakerblog July 15, 2013 at 10:02 am

Amy, this looks so refreshing. I’m surprised your mint was dried up. That stuff grows like a weed. I love the basil combo. Yum!

30 Tracey July 15, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Oooh, this sounds so perfectly refreshing, Amy! I love the combination of flavors too – basil was a good call! It’s going to be 90+ and humid all week so perfect weather for this drink :)

31 Billy July 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

This sounds super yummy. I just planted a purple basil plant so I think this will be its first mission. Perfect flavors for a hot, humid, summer day in the South!

32 Rachel Cooks July 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm

This looks so refreshing and perfect!

33 amy July 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Ooh, I hope your purple basil plant enjoys its first mission! =)

34 Jess July 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

This sounds yummy and refreshing! (and maybe when it’s appropriate, it might go good with a splash of vodka too!)

35 Taylor @ greens & chocolate July 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

My mint is all dead too! I thought I heard it was the never-ending herb…. My basil, however is flourishing. This limeade sounds so unique and refreshing!

36 amy July 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

Mint is usually super hardy, almost impossible to kill, but apparently there are some super exceptional gardeners like you + I who manage to kill it. Ha! I like basil better anyway, + our basil plants are doing great, too. =)

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