Basil Lemonade, or Earnest Convictions on a Hot Summer Day

August 20, 2015

We have some extraordinary people working at Hart’s. This week, we want to introduce Kurt Indovina – writer and barista at Hart’s. Some people love Rochester winters, and some love our summers. Kurt is more the former than the latter. Read on as he finds his own little slice of heaven in one of our signature cafe beverages:

It was a ninety degree weather day when I was walking through the city of Rochester on my way to Hart’s. I remember the sun hung high above my head, beating down on me with its treacherous heat waves. Nothing but concrete and tall buildings made primarily out of glass surrounding me, the already excruciating heat was multiplied; for once, I knew what it was like to be microwaved alive. I was, in short, displeased with mother nature, and admittedly, I was helpless, but all I could do was shake my fist at the flaming ball in the sky.

Basil Lemonade fending off the sun.
Basil Lemonade fending off the sun.

Exhausted and sweaty, I stumbled into Hart’s where I desperately tried to absorb whatever bit of cool air I could. I came to greet fellow co-worker, friend, and barista, Britt, where I found her consuming what looked like an iced swamp-green beverage. She stood in a bubble of happiness, almost radiating a refreshing coolness around her. Though frightening at first, and even a bit puzzling, my endless curiosity to learn and understand that of which I do not, got the best of me. It was then, that I learned about what is now widely known as the greatest beverage to have seen this side of the continent: the Basil Lemonade.

She offered me one, and I took it out of sheer desperation to be hydrated. Upon my sip, I was entranced: the stark clash of the citrus sweet lemonade mixed with the distinct taste of the basil beautifully complimented one another—as things that contrast often do—all in a bubbly crisp finish of sparkling water. It was was a familiar taste, yet surprisingly new. It was like jumping into a pool for the first time on a hot day, bracing yourself for the jarring change in temperature. It was exactly what I needed.

It was without question that this drink had to be shared with the rest of Rochester. It would give anyone the power to stare in the smug face of the burning sun, and shrug off it’s unforgivable tendency to raise the temperature above fifty degrees.

“Basil is great, basil loves the sun, and I love the sun too.” explained Britt modestly. Britt, who is not only an aspiring tattoo artist, a master gardener, and queen of basil growing, was now an acclaimed genius and mastermind of drink concoctions. When Britt isn’t being a scientist of wonder and magic behind the cafe bar, she’s usually out gardening in front of the Little theater, sometimes even on her break.

The basil lemonade is made from scratch using ingredients that can be found on Hart’s store shelves and Produce department. Here at the Hart’s cafe we use Natalie’s Lemonade, a splash of sparkling water, and fresh basil leaves blended up with a homemade simple syrup, thus giving it that confusing yet wonderfully intriguing green color.  

Word must be spread far and wide good Rochesterians, summer holds no bounds on our cool demeanor when a basil lemonade is in hand.

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One Comment

  • I woke up this past Saturday morning after a difficult night of lecturing from my pub chair the virtues and detriments of a life in general. As I shook the cobwebs from my mind and eyes I remembered a blog I had read the day before about a life-changing potation offered at a locally owned grocer.
    Purely ensconced upon the virtues of this beverage as endorsed by this article I meandered into Hart’s Local Grocers on that aforementioned Saturday morning.
    Although the line to the prepared foods area was long, the staff made repeated efforts to assure all of us in line that we would be taken care of as efficiently as possible. Of course, the line is a testament to the quality of products that Hart’s obviously offers.
    Well, to make a doddering old fool’s meanderings short, I ordered the blog mentioned Basil Lemonade and a Hart’s signature breakfast sandwich. The beverage definitely brought about the sensation of summer with the chlorophyll tones of the basil coupled with the acrid flavorings of the fresh lemons and the delightful wave of dopamine inducing sweetness of the sweetener for a taste and senses awakening treat. Accompanied by the bright, fresh California flavors of the sandwich dexterously constructed by Eric, it made for an incredible start to my day where anything else that would occur for the remaining of the day would pale in comparison.
    Kudos to the employees of Hart’s and the creativity of them additionally.
    Keep up the interesting blog missives!
    Till my next foray into Hart’s. Ciao.

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