Basil Shikanjavi/Shikanji or Basil Lemonade

Basil Shikanjavi/Shikanji  or Basil Lemonade is Lemonade made with basil simple syrup. Make your favorite summer drink Shikanjavi with Basil Simple Syrup

Lemonade in India is know as Shikanjavi or Shikanji or Nimbu Paani. Nimbu is Lemons in Hindi language. It is one of the most popular and cheapest form of summer cooler.Here I bring you desi Nimbu Paani with Basil flavor..Basil Shikanjavi/Shikanji or Basil Lemonade

Made with fresh lemons, serve in chilled with added spices like black pepper, black salt or roasted cumin seeds. Many people also use homemade or store bought masala(spice mix) for the enhancing the flavor.

Shikanji is both made in sweet and salty flavors. As a kid I always loved the sweet version with a pinch of masala added to it. Sugar is used as a sweeter, now these days many people have started adding honey to avoid white sugar. My kids also like the sweet version and it is one of their favorite summer drinks. Fortunately, both of then are not at all fond of commercial cola drinks or store-bought fruit juices and like to have homemade ones.

I started using fresh basil in cooking when we came to US. In India back then it was not very popular though we now get the fresh ones at specialty stores.I had earlier used dried basil in  soups,and pizza preparations and basil pesto in homemade breads(Basil Pesto Bread)  sandwich and pasta.

Now I have fallen in love with the flavor of fresh basil and use it in soups and smoothies like these.. Roasted Bell Pepper and Tomato Soup, Melon and Basil Agua Fresca.

What is Basil Shikanjavi or Basil Lemonade

Basil flavored Nimbu Paani or Lemonade is one of the many ways to use fresh basil leaves. Many times it happens that we get fresh basil leaves from store and as the shelf life is very small, these start turning black and lose aroma if not used within first few days. So I make this Basil Simple Syrup and use it in making lemonade or other sweet fruit drinks.

Lemonade flavored with Basil Syrup has become a favorite drink in house. Squeeze in some lemon and  add the syrup as per the sweetness you like then add water or soda as per your preference!! and sip on the lemony freshness with hint of basil flavor.

Lime or Lemon for Lemonade to make Basil Shikanjavi/Shikanji

You can use Lime or Lemon to make this Lemonade. I prefer to use limes that are available here in US,  as the taste of limes is much like the Indian lemons. Indian lemons are much smaller in size as compared to the ones we get in US.

Health Benefits of Lime and Basil

Limes or Lemons are rich sources of Vit. C and antioxidants. Since ages these have been used for medicinal purposes. One of the best detox drinks when mixed with water and honey. cleanse the system and give glowing skin.

Basil is also a rich source of anti-oxidants and excellent source of Vitamin A . It promotes blood flow and is used in aroma therapy(Source online).

Lime and Basil together in this refreshing cooling drink, not only cools down the body but also has several health benefits.

How to make Basil Shikanji

To make Shkanjavi we need basil flavored syrup lemons/lime and chilled water, you can also used soda if you want, especially while serving to your guests. I make Simple Syrup(Sugar Syrup with basil leaves and store it in refrigerator.

It stays good for a week or even longer.

Make lemonade whenever you want. I will not recommend using dried ones,frankly,never tried it. I feel the real flavor of lemonade is enhanced with fresh leaves.

First step is to make Simple Basil Syrup

2 Simple steps and cooling refreshing drink is ready to sip.

Wash the leaves gently under running water.

Add equal parts of sugar and water in a pan. Once the sugar is dissolved and water starts to just boil, add basil leaves and boil for a minutes then switch off the flame.

I like to blend the whole mixture with leaves, keep it for sometime so that the flavor of basil leaves is infused in mixture.

Then filter it and keep it in refrigerator.

You an also free the syrup in ice cube tray and use as required.

How to make Basil Nimbu Paani or Basil Lemonade

To make Lemonade or Nimbu Paani, squeeze one whole lime one lemon in a glass, add basil syrup around 1/4 cup or as per the sweetness required, add water, ice cubes sip on the freshness!

You can also add cut or lightly muddled fruits like kiwis, strawberries or blueberries for an enhanced fruity taste.


Recipe card for Basil Shikanjavi/Shikanjavi or Basil Lemonade

Basil Shikanji/Basil Lemonade

Shikanjavi or Nimbu Paani or Indian Lemonade flavored with basil simple syrup made with fresh basil leaves. Learn how to make Basil flavored Nimbu Paani or Lemonade
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Resting Time for Mixture 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Appetizer, Beverages
Cuisine Fusion


  • Pan
  • Strainer
  • Blender(optional)
  • Mixing Spoons


For Basil Simple Syrup

  • 2 Cup Water
  • Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves

For Lemonade

  • 2 Lemons
  • 1/4 Cup Basil Simple Syrup
  • Water or Soda


Make Basil Simple Syrup

  • In a pan add water and sugar together.
  • Switch on the gas stove, heat water and sugar mixture.
  • When the mixture just let it boil for 1-2 mins. then add basil leaves.
  • Let it boil for another 1 minute.
  • Switch off the flame and let the flavor of basil leaves infuse in water sugar mixture.
  • Once the mixture cools down, blend the mixture. This is optional.
  • You can skip this step and directly strain the mixture.
  • Strain the mixture after blending.
  • Store it in an air-tight glass bottle or jar, use as required.

To make Shkanjavi/Lemonade

  • In a glass ad the basil simple syrup,about 1/4 cup for a glass. Add chilled water ice-cubes. Add few slices of any fruit you like or simply serve the nimbu paani and enjoy!!
Keyword Fresh Basil Leaves, Shikanjavi

How to Use Basil Simple Syrup other then making Lemonade

My favorite way to use it is in lemonades, ice teas or other fruity drinks where we need sugar syrup. You can also drizzle this on fruit salads, add in popsicle or granitas.

Can I make it without Sugar Syrup

Do not want to use white sugar?? You can add honey to it. To make without sugar, boil water, then add basil leaves, boil for a minute and then let the flavor infuse, add honey then store it after straining.

Vegans can use maple syrup or any other natural sweetener.

You can make ahead of any party or get-together and serve to guests. Trust me it will be hit among all the age groups.  Not only in hot and dry summers , you can make this have it any season as it a good source of Vit. C and antioxidants.

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Author: Swati

Some who believes 'EAT WELL, READ DAILY, TRAVEL OFTEN AND LAUGH KHUL KE'!!! Hi!! Swati here!!! Chef, Chocolatier, food admirer, reader, love to travel, listen to music, Bollywood and shoot nature and food pics!! Welcome to my Foodtrails and join me in my food adventure!!

13 thoughts

  1. Swaty beautiful clicks as the basil shikanjavi looks so refreshing. I remember when my son was still in Hotel Management School, during his first holiday at home, he made for us a fresh basil drink. I loved it. I simply love the aroma and flavor of it.

  2. Refreshing and perfect for upcoming season. Basil must give it nice aroma, love the presentation.

  3. Basil lemonade sounds flavourful, aromatic and refreshing drink. Summer is set and this is one of the best drink to refresh ourselves. Making Basil syrup and then the lemonade sounds easy too. Between loved the clicks. So inviting.

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