when i was younger, after isha prayer at a mosque in bensonhurst, my father and i would would go to the local egyptian-owned butcher and grocery store to buy the items that my mother had requested. as my dad conversed with his friends in the store, i wandered the aisles, looking at the bulk bins filled with a variety of middle eastern pickles, grains, and dried beans and legumes. on summer nights, we would always get cold drinks after we bought our groceries and while i would always choose between guarana brazilia or my favorite at the time, guava juice. my father, on the other hand, always went for the basil seed honey drink, which i wanted nothing to do with, of course–i mean, have you seen it? looks like a bottle filled with frog eggs. no kid wants to drink that. when i tried it many years later, i actually loved it, but it was hard to find, so i only had it every once in a while.
today, while wondering the aisles at a small grocery store in little pakistan, i found packaged basil seeds and knew exactly what i had to try to make. here’s the recipe
simple syrup (1 cup of sugar to 1/2 cup of water) 1/3 cup basil seeds
juice of half a lemon (add slowly)
4 liters of ice cold water
1/2 cup of honey
make simple syrup by dissolving 1 cup of sugar in 1/2 a cup of water and brining to a boil. when thickened, put to the side. add basil seeds to the ice cold water (within a few minutes, they’ll start to swell up) and stir in honey and simple syrup. add the fresh lemon juice in intervals to your liking (could make this into a honey lemonade by adding more lemon juice, but the addition of lemon juice in this drink is so its not unbearably sweet)
for what it’s worth, my father loved it and said it tasted just like the store-bought drink!