Is it too hot and muggy outside for a steamy cup of coffee or tea?
Our strawberry, lemon, and basil infused water is a thirst-quenching fruity refreshment to enjoy on the hottest of days!
A glass of ice-cold beverage after a sweaty exercise session, doing yard work, or playing all day outside is an ideal beverage to stay hydrated throughout the summer.
But when you want to bring some extra flavor to a plain pitcher of water – without adding any artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or food coloring – there’s nothing easier or more natural than using your favorite fruits and herbs to make a gentle infusion.
In this light and healthy recipe, brilliant red strawberries, bright yellow lemons, and vibrant green basil swirl together to create a beautiful mix of colors and a subtle, summery taste.
Fresh berries and herbs are a winning combination when you desire pure, clean, seasonal flavors. We’ve done it, we love it, and we want more of it!
There’s a particularly special synergy between strawberries and basil, and the sweet-tart fruit is the perfect playmate for this floral herb.
You may have noticed Foodal’s obsession with this pairing – we’ve canned jam, churned dairy-free ice cream, and munched on chicken salad that all loudly and proudly celebrate these two ingredients. And we think our delightfully refreshing chilled beverage will round out the current recipes quite nicely.
Make this soon, when you know another heat wave is fast approaching!Print
Do you want to add flavor to a cold glass of water? For a refreshing summer beverage, make our infused water with strawberries, lemon, and basil.
- 8 strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced with seeds and ends removed
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- 2 quarts filtered water
- Ice, for serving
- Place the strawberries, lemon, and basil in the bottom of a large pitcher. Pour the water on top.
- Cover the top of the pitcher tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-8 hours.
- Pour the water into individual glasses filled with ice and serve immediately. You may strain out the fruit and basil before serving if desired.
- For longer storage, strain out the fruit and basil after the initial infusion. The infused water will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Infused Water
- Method: No-cook
- Cuisine: Beverage
Keywords: strawberry, basil, lemon, infused water
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
The size of the strawberries, lemon, and basil is a point of consideration – generally, smaller produce will yield a weaker infusion, while larger produce or using more of it! – will yield more pronounced flavors.
If you prefer more subtle flavors, choose smaller pieces of produce, or reduce the amounts that you use versus what’s called for in the recipe.
If you want a stronger taste, select larger produce options, or increase the suggested amounts.
Set out a pitcher, one that is large enough to hold two quarts of liquid. Set out the lid for the pitcher, or a roll of plastic wrap if the pitcher does not have a lid.
Before slicing, wash the strawberries, lemon, and basil, shaking off any excess water.
Thinly slice the lemon. You should avoid using the end pieces, as they will release too much bitterness into the drink. Carefully remove the seeds from each slice – no one wants to accidentally sip up a seed!
If you prefer a stronger herbal infusion, you can tear the basil into smaller pieces to release more of the volatile compounds.
Measure out your water – use your favorite filtered water at home, obtained from a separate filter pitcher, faucet, or refrigerator dispenser. You can also choose your preferred brand of bottled water.
Step 2 – Add Fruit and Water to Pitcher
Gently place all of the prepped fruit and basil in the bottom of the pitcher. There’s no particular order of placement required here.
To preserve the pretty shapes of your delicate pieces for serving, avoid aggressively pushing or pressing them down. We don’t want to see a glassful of mushy, damaged strawberries and lemons!
However, gently muddling everything in the pitcher is another method to release more juices – which you might prefer if you want to extract as much flavor as possible.
Pour the water into the pitcher over the fruit.
Step 3 – Infuse and Chill
Cover the pitcher with the lid, or tightly wrap the top with plastic wrap. Transfer the pitcher to your refrigerator.
Infuse the liquid for a minimum of 2 hours, or for up to 8 hours. The longer the mixture remains in the refrigerator, the stronger the flavors will become.
You don’t want to infuse the water for any longer than 8 hours, as the ingredients, especially the citrus, will start to impart a strong and unpleasantly bitter taste.
It is also important that you infuse this beverage in the refrigerator, rather than at room temperature.
According to food safety experts at the CDC and FDA, freshly cut fruits are considered perishable produce. They need to be refrigerated within 2 hours of being prepped at room temperature to prevent foodborne illnesses due to improper storage.
Step 4 – Serve and Store
After your preferred length of infusion, it’s time to drink!
For the most refreshing beverage, fill individual glasses with ice before pouring the water into them.
You can choose to strain out everything before serving, or you can divide them among the glasses.
Drink your beverage immediately, while it’s cold! Again, perishable sliced fruits should not sit at room temperature for any longer than 2 hours.
If you need to store extra infused water, or if you are making a batch ahead of time, you should remove all of the pieces and herbs after the initial infusion in Step 3 before pouring the water into an airtight container.
The beverage is already flavored to your preferred strength – you don’t want to continue infusing, or else the fruit and herbs will continue breaking down and the liquid will become too bitter.
Choose Your Favorite Basil – They’re Not All the Same!
With many types of basil to choose from, you can create different flavor experiences with each new batch.
There are over 160 different cultivars, so the fun never has to end! And with some assistance from our sister site, Gardener’s Path, a few of these varieties may already be growing in your garden.
If you need some help, pick one of our top six basil varieties.
‘Italian Large Leaf’ or ‘Sweet Basil’ are two popular and approachable options – the classics! ‘Lemon’ has a fresh, citrusy scent that will seamlessly echo the sliced lemon in the recipe, while ‘Thai’ will impart a mild anise flavor.
What type of basil will you use in your next batch of our infused water? Do you like pairing fruit with herbs? Leave a comment below – we can’t wait to read your responses.
Sweet-tart strawberries are smile-inducing morsels of summery magic, so enjoy them at peak ripeness while they last! Seeking more ways to use this delicious seasonal fruit, basil’s BFF? We have a generous list of recipes starring strawberries. Take the time to review them all yourself, or choose from these top picks now:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published May 14, 2015 by Jennifer Swartvagher. Last updated on July 23, 2023.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.