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Happiest Hour

Basil lemonade craze

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What you're drinking: Basil lemonade is a sweet and herby cocktail made of—you guessed it!—basil and lemonade. It can be served boozy or virgin, and often includes other fruits, like strawberries, tossed in for good measure.

Why you're drinking it: It's summer, yo. And basil lemonade is popping up everywhere we go. It's the featured drink of backyard barbecues and evening cocktail parties. It's as sunny as a Beach Boys album and way more authentic than Katy Perry's "California Girls."

Where you're drinking it: A few bars around Missoula—including The Old Post (103 W. Spruce)—mix it with vodka. (You can also get a pretty delicious basil mojito there.) Other places, like Biga Pizza (241 W. Main), serve it sans alcohol but with all parts natural: fresh basil, lemon juice, honey, sugar and water. How much of each ingredient they use is their little secret, but it's worth biking down there for a taste.

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How to make it yours: If you're really into the whole do-it-yourself thing, you can make your own happy hour. Invite your friends to your backyard (or balcony, or tiny concrete slab behind your home) and dazzle them with your herbal magicianship.

10 lemons, juiced

(approx. 1 cup of lemon juice)

3/4 cup super fine sugar

4 cups water

8-10 strawberries, hulled

1/3 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup vodka (optional)

You're pretty cool now, right?

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, e-mail editor@missoulanews.com.

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