Preserve peak season strawberries by making this aromatic, crimson syrup. The basil adds a lovely herbal note and the slight bitterness of the peppercorns cuts through the sweetness of the syrup. Use this in cocktails, top with sparkling wine, stir into lemonade or drizzle over ice cream, pancakes or shortcakes. If using proper canning techniques, this syrup can be stored for up to a year so you can enjoy a bit of summer all through winter.
In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, lemon juice, peppercorns, basil and 1 quart of water. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to moderately-low and simmer, without stirring and skimming off any foam that rises to the surface, until the water is a deep red and the strawberries have lost most of their color, about 20 minutes.
Carefully strain the syrup through a fine mesh sieve set over a large heat-proof measuring cup. Do not press on the fruit or your syrup will become cloudy. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the saucepan. Add the sugar and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 10 to 15 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top.
Let cool completely, then transfer to a glass jar or bottle. Refrigerate until ready to use.
MAKE AHEAD The strawberry syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.