Basil Lemonade, or Earnest Convictions on a Hot Summer Day

Posted on August 20th, 2015 by Kurt Indovina

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.

News & Blog | August 20th, 2015