One of my recent garden purchases (and there have been many) is a Pink Eureka Lemon tree. I never would've thought I could be super excited about a tree...but I am really excited about this thing. Eureka lemons are just the plain old variety you get at the grocery store, but the pink ones are a mutation (awesome!) that was discovered in a California citrus grove in 1931. Some people say these lemons taste subtly different from the plain, non-mutated ones - they're supposed to be fruitier (fruitier? what's fruitier than a fruit?) and more floral. Well, maybe I have an uneducated palatte, but I just tasted lemon.
The difference, and the reason I am so excited about this tree, is that pink lemons look like what normal lemons would look like if they were total badasses. Outside, the rind is yellow with green stripes, like a little tiny watermelon, and inside the flesh is a subtle peachy-pink. (Unfortunately, pink lemon juice is not pink. It just looks like normal lemon juice. Bummer, I know.)
When I first acquired my pink lemon tree, it already had two fruits on it. I felt like an accomplished gardener just for picking it up at the farmers' market. Over the next few weeks, I thought long and hard about what to do with my pink lemons - clearly I could not use them in just any old drink. It had to be something that would showcase their mutant greatness. Enter...the Lemon-Basil Margarita. (recipe from this book.)
1/2 lemon, seeded and thinly sliced into half-wheels*
2 basil leaves
1/4 oz agave nectar**
2 oz gold tequila
1 oz grand marnier (or triple sec, if you don't feel like shelling out for the grand marnier.)
*You don't have to use pink lemons. your drink will taste just as good (but not look quite as good) with plain old lemons.
**Debate (some of it very scientific) rages over the use of agave nectar v. simple syrup in margaritas. I prefer the agave nectar, so I substituted 1/4 oz agave nectar for the 1/2 oz simple syrup originally called for, since agave nectar is sweeter.
Muddle the lemon slices, basil, and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add the tequila, grand marnier, and 1 cup crushed ice. Stir until completely mixed, and then let sit for at least a minute. (It's important when stirring cocktails to allow time for the ice to melt a little, since the that little bit of melted water in the drink mellows the burn of the booze.)
Verdict: Sweet, delicious margarita taste. Basil adds a nice twist. (But we already knew that tequila and basil play well together.) Oh - and mighty, mighty strong. You might want to wait for the ice to melt a little before you finish this one.