Lemon Basil Water Ice

Lemon Basil Water Ice

Water ice is an iconic summer treat in the Philadelphia area.  The infusion of the lemon basil (our new favorite herb!) offers a refreshing treat on a hot afternoon, and looks elegant when served in a stemless wine glass for an easy dessert if a friend pops over to hang out on your porch.  

Summer in Philly is hot, sometimes too hot to eat and water ice is a refreshing and light dessert which features a burst of lemon flavor and a taste of basil perfect for a hot summer day. It’s simple and elegant when served in a stemless wine glass. 


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • peel from one lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice 



Add the water, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon basil to a medium saucepan. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a boil. 

Once the mixture comes to a boil turn the heat down slightly and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let this mixture cool for 15 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a glass baking pan and discard the lemon peel and basil leaves. Add the lemon juice and swirl together and stick in the freezer.

After 30 minutes take a fork and scrape the ice off of the sides of the bread pan. Continue this process every 30 minutes or so until the mixture is slushie and frozen. (about 2 hours)

Scoop into dessert dishes and serve or cover and keep in the freezer.


Cocktail Variation

The flavors of the lemon basil water ice reminded me of a basil mezcal margarita I had last year at Limantour in Mexico City.  The lemon and basil pair wonderfully with a smoky mezcal.    Simply prepare as normal in a stemless wine glass and pour 1 oz of mezcal over the water ice .  Tequila or vodka also work well.



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