Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade Cocktail

I have been following Lily Diamond's blog, Kale & Caramel, and Instagram (@kaleandcaramel) for years and so enjoy it. Her unique kitchen approach includes recipes not only for deliciously fresh food (like these Crispy Lentil Smashed Potatoes) and drinks (like the cocktail below), but also for DIY beauty products (like this Blackberry Basil Healing Face Mask).  

Her first book, Kale & Caramel,  just came out and it is BEAUTIFUL. Having grown up in an apple orchard in California where we grew a lot of our own vegetables, I think there's something so valuable about connecting to plants in the place that you live; watering them, feeling their leaves, watching them grow, picking them, eating them, having your hands and feet in the dirt. Lily grew up in Hawaii among a bounty of edible flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables in her backyard which informs her kitchen approach. This connection to plants and dirt and place is often difficult to maintain when you live in a more urban area without things readily growing around you, but Lily talks about how using fresh herbs, flowers and other plants in the kitchen can help you retrieve that connection. She calls it a "return to wildness", which I think is so valuable, grounding, and healthy. 

Here's Lily's recipe for Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade from her new book. (her pic below, plus my little watercolor illustration above.)

Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade

serves 2

preparation time: 5 minutes

3-inch length of cucumber, chilled and coarsely chopped (about ⅓ cup), plus cucumber slices for garnish 2 to 3 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus lemon slices for garnish

Add the chopped cucumber to a blender or food processor with the basil, lemon juice,still water, and honey. Blend until smooth,then distribute evenly between 2 glasses.

Add the sparkling water, again splitting evenly between the glasses. Drop in a few ice cubes, and garnish with cucumber slices, lemon slices, and basil as desired.

1⁄4 cup still water 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

3⁄4 cup sparkling water, or more to taste Ice cubes, for serving

* * *

Lily suggests making it a cocktail by adding gin, vodka, light rum, or cachaça. Yes, please. Cheers!

Recipe and drink photo copyright © 2017 by Lily Diamond from KALE & CARAMEL: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Photos copyright © 2017, Lily Diamond