Make this the day before your Kentucky Derby party. Once basil is discarded, keep the syrup in the fridge for up to two weeks. It is delicious with unsweetened iced tea.
Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Boil, stirring often, 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; add basil, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Pour into a glass jar. Cover and chill 24 hours. Remove and discard basil.
Mint Simple Syrup: Prepare recipe as directed, substituting fresh mint sprigs for basil sprigs.