This Cucumber Basil Lemonade is an amazingly refreshing summer cocktail that can also be made into a mocktail (just leave the vodka out!). Simply make a homemade lemonade, juice your cucumber (it's easy!) and combine together with fresh basil and lots of ice.
(This recipe was originally published in September 2011, but was updated with new photos and content in 2021).
Cucumber lemonade? Yes! I promise you this is a wonderful idea. Especially with fresh basil added in.
Like freshly squeezed lemonade, cucumbers are incredibly refreshing (they're made up of over 90% water) and there's nothing quite like an ice cold glass of cucumber lemonade on a hot day.
Especially if you also happen to have an exploding summer basil plant. And especially especially if it's Friday and you want to add in a splash of vodka for a little summer Friday fun.
Is This a Mocktail or a Cocktail?
This drink can be whatever you want! I admit that I originally created the recipe with vodka added. But if you prefer a mocktail, just leave it out.
If you want to serve this drink to kids and adults, simply make it in the pitcher without vodka and then add a couple ounces of vodka to the adult glasses as you pour the lemonade.
If you don't like vodka, this lemonade would also be delicious with gin or tequila.
How to Make Cucumber Basil Lemonade
This is a pretty easy drink to make and just consists of a few simple steps. For me, squeezing all the lemons is the toughest part. But freshly squeezed lemon juice is so much better than anything you could buy!
You'll also need to juice your cucumbers. I know, that sounds really strange, doesn't it? But just trust me... Juice them!
You'll need 1 ½ English cucumbers for this drink: one to juice and ½ of one that you'll slice and add to the cocktail for garnish.
Start by peeling one of the English cucumbers and then cutting it in half. Cut each half in half lengthwise. Scoop seeds out with a spoon, discard, and dice cucumber.
Put the cucumber pieces in a food processor or blender.
Puree until smooth.
Look at that gorgeous color!
Put that beautiful cucumber puree through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and push with a wooden spoon or spatula, extracting as much liquid as you can from the cucumber puree.
You should be able to get about ¾ cup.
It looks kind of like Ecto Cooler or some kind of kids' beverage you definitely shouldn't be drinking. But it's 100% naturally colored!
Now you're going to combine everything together in a big pitcher. I started by mixing my ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice with 3 cups water, and 3 Tbsp granulated sugar.
It's the most delicious homemade lemonade!
Now, pour the lemonade and cucumber juice into a large pitcher or serving container.
Add vodka if you want to make the cucumber lemonade alcoholic. Slice the remaining cucumber half (un-peeled) and remaining lemon and add to pitcher. Add basil, too. Refrigerate until chilled.
Serve cucumber lemonade in a glass or mason jar with a little bit of ice. This is the kind of drink that is especially appropriate for a mason jar.
Make sure you get some of the sliced lemons and cucumbers in there for visual appeal. And a little fresh basil, too.
Can I Make This Ahead of Time?
Yes, you can definitely make this cucumber lemonade ahead of time and keep it in the fridge to chill.
But if you are making it more than a day ahead of time, I recommend waiting to add the diced cucumbers sliced lemons, and fresh basil until a little while before you serve it.
You want the basil to have a little time to infuse some flavor into the cucumber lemonade, but not so much time that it ends up wilting and getting icky.
This is such a uniquely fabulous lemonade. I admit, if you're not a cucumber fan, you may not love it… But my husband usually doesn't like cucumber in drinks and even he said this was delicious.
The cucumber makes an already refreshing lemonade even more refreshing.
And the basil adds a fun little extra summery kick.
More Summer Drink Recipes
I love making drinks to celebrate every summer weekend and then sitting in the sun and sipping on them. Here are a few of my favorite summer drink recipes:
- Blueberry Vodka Lemonade
- Strawberry Coconut Daiquiri
- Tropical Gin Sunrise
- Tequila Thyme Lemonade
- Blueberry Coconut Margarita
- Watermelon Rosé Slushies
- Key Lime Pie Mojito
- Frozen Peach Margarita
- Summer Rosé Spritzer
- Coconut Blackberry Mojito (by Inspire by Kaelyn)
- Cucumber Water (by Healthy Kitchen 101)
- Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade (from Shweta in the Kitchen)
When the weather gets hot and your basil plant starts producing faster than you can make pesto, make this cucumber basil lemonade and take some time to relax.
After all, summer goes by so quickly.
Does your Friday call for a cocktail?
Cucumber Basil Lemonade
- 1 ½ English cucumbers (1 for drink and ½ for garnish)
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 4 lemons), plus 1 lemon thinly sliced for garnish
- 3 cups water
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups vodka (optional)
- ⅓ cup basil leaves
- Peel one of the cucumbers, cut it in half, and then cut each half in half lengthwise. Scoop seeds out with a spoon, discard, and dice cucumber.
- Put cucumber pieces in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
- Put cucumber puree through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and push with a wooden spoon or spatula, extracting as much liquid as you can from the cucumber puree. You should be able to get about ¾ cup.
- Pour cucumber juice into a large pitcher with ¾ cup lemon juice, water, and granulated sugar. Stir in vodka if using. Slice remaining half cucumber and add cucumber slices, lemon slices, and fresh basil to pitcher.
- Let mixture chill until ready to serve. Pour cocktail into ice-filled glasses, making sure to get some sliced cucumbers and lemons and basil in each glass.
- If making ahead of time, wait to add cucumber and lemon slices and fresh basil to pitcher until a couple hours before serving.
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