We recently visited enchanting Savannah, Georgia and it was so much more than we expected...and trust me, we expected to instantly fall in love with its charm, history and architecture. But the food? Oh, dear Lord, the food! And then there was the cocktails and craft beer!
We stayed at Azalea Inn and Gardens in the historic district, less than a 5 minute walk from Forsythe Park, Savannah's central park in the historic district, and a mere 12 minutes from Chippewa Square where Tom Hanks was filmed sitting on a park bench with a box of chocolates in 'Forest Gump'. 'Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil" was also filmed in Savannah and is based on a true murder and subsequent trial that took place there. To stand on the very steps that John Cusack stood in the Women's Only Card Club scene was a pretty special thing!
History abounds in Savannah. In 1733, Gen. James Oglethorpe and his settlers landed at Yamacraw Bluff and the city of Savannah was founded on that date, along with the colony of Georgia. By the outbreak of the American Revolution, Savannah had become the southern most commercial port of the Thirteen Colonies.
During the American Civil War, Savannah was the prime objective of General William T. Sherman's 'March to the Sea' and on early December 21, 1864, Savannah authorities negotiated a peaceful surrender of their beloved city to save it from Sherman's 'scorched earth policy' of inflicting maximal psychological, economic and tactical damange by destroying anything that could be used by the enemy - destroying farms and plantations, burning down stores and twisting railroad track.
On December 22, 1864, Sherman wrote President Abraham Lincoln stating, 'I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bales of cotton. "
You can feel the history as you stroll the enchanting streets of Savannah. There are over 758 restaurants reviewed on Trip Advisor in Savannah, most notably for me are Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House, Paula Deen's 'Lady and Sons', and of course, 'The Distillery', where I was inspired to create my Bourbon Bacon Jam.
Azalea Inn and Gardens' laid back southern charms features vintage gardens, glorious 19th century architecture, amazing casually elegant rooms and an absolutely scrumptious breakfast served every morning in the beautiful period dining room. But perhaps one of the biggest treats at Azalea Inn is the Basil Lemonade - it's the perfect refreshment after a long day strolling the streets of Savannah's historic district.
Full recipe instructions have been published with permission of owner and proprietor extrordinaire, Teresa Scott Jacobson, under the Wine/Cocktails sections of this site but to make Basil Lemonade, you will need:
Vodka (or Gin, whatever suits your fancy)
Very simply, start by making a Basil Simple Syrup. To do this, combine 3/4 c. (packed) fresh basil, 3/4 c. sugar and 3/4 c. water in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, and then simmer until all of the sugar is dissolved. Strain basil from syrup, store in an airtight jar or other container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
For the lemonade, fill glasses with ice, add 1 and 1/2 oz. vodka (or gin), 2 oz. basil simple syrup, 2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 oz. club soda. Stir, garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!
Whether it's for the history, visiting the many museums or renowned Savannah College of Art and Design, (SCAD), strolling through one of the 22 historical squares, meandering down the beautiful tree lined streets, admiring amazing architecture, or exploring many of the fantastic culinary experiences Savannah has to offer, there's something for everyone in this beautiful city. I highly recommend rewarding yourself with a stay at Azalea Inn and Gardens and I am most certain, all you have to do is mention the Basil Lemonade, and Miss Ree will be sure to oblige!
For further information on Azalea Inn and Garden's, go to: www.azaleainn.com