- 4 cups packed fresh basil sprigs (top 4 inches; from a 1/2-pound bunch)
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 9 (4- by 1-inch) strips lemon zest
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 cups ice cubes
- 1-1/4 fresh lemon juice
- Bring basil, 4 cups of water, sugar, and lemon zest to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature, covered, 1 hour, then transfer to an airtight container and chill until cold, about 1 hour. Strain syrup thorough a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids.
- Stir together the syrup and the rest of the ingredients in a large pitcher, then pour into tall glasses half filled with ice.