Zero Proof: Shiso Limeade Recipe

Zero Proof: Shiso Limeade Recipe

[Photo: Christianne Winthrop]

If iced tea and lemonade is an Arnold Palmer, then this shiso limeade is a Ryo Ishikawa.

Don't know who Ryo Ishikawa is just yet? Think of him as the Tiger Woods of Japan. Since going pro at 15, he's collected nine wins on the Japan Golf Tour and is donating all of his 2011 earnings to the Japan earthquake relief effort, which year-to-date is just shy of $1 million US. Oh, and Ishikawa's got a thing for bubblegum pink pants—which is why he immediately came to mind for this edgier twist on a classic summer drink.

Shiso is available in the produce section of Asian markets and you'll probably recognize it as the garnish from your sushi platters. It's a member of the mint family, and is similar in flavor and appearance to Thai basil. You'll want to use purple shiso for this tea, and after the herbs steep for a few minutes, you'll see that the water has turned an off-putting murky brown. It's not until you mix the limeade into the tea that it turns bright pink, just like the pH tests you did in elementary school with red cabbage juice and lemon. After your two mixers are sufficiently cold, mix together and enjoy on a hot day—regardless of your summer sport.

  • Yield:6
  • Active time: 15 minutes
  • Total time:2 hours (includes cooling)


  • For the Shiso Tea:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh purple or red shiso leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
  • For the Limeade:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 3/4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Garnish: sliced lime


  1. 1.

    For the Shiso Tea: In 2-quart lidded pot, heat 3 cups water to a simmer, remove from heat before water starts to boil. Drop in shiso and mint leaves, cover and let steep for 5 to 10 minutes.

  2. 2.

    Strain herbs from pot and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to mix with limeade.

  3. 3.

    For the Limeade: Heat 3/4 cup water with sugar over medium flame, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

  4. 4.

    Combine remaining 2 cups water with lime juice and cooled sugar syrup. Stir and refrigerate until chilled.

  5. 5.

    For the Shiso Limeade: Pour equal parts chilled shiso tea and limeade into a pitcher or serving glasses and garnish with slices of lime.