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7 Great Summer Drinks

Summer Shrub Recipes

Pineapple and Strawberry Mint Shrubs Refresh on a Hot Summer Day

No Soda?  What to Drink?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about kicking the soda habit. Having not had soda for so many years, aside from the occasional Izzy or ginger beer (a really gingery ginger ale), I have don’t find most commercial soft drinks appealing. However, there is always the lure of something carbonated and refreshing…I am always looking for that perfect summer drink.

All this has led me to a search for the perfect summer, non-alcoholic drink. To be truthful, I have been known to spike a few of these, feel free to experiment.  I have discovered many options over the years and thought to share some with you.

Iced tea

One of my favorites in summer months is the old-time standard of iced tea–black, green, or herbal. Now, I still like my black tea, sweetened, but a teaspoon of sugar sure beats the 11 teaspoons found in bottled iced tea. Herbal teas are my favorites during summer months. Many of them, particularly those with some fruit flavorings have a natural sweetness. They require no additional sweeteners.

Lemonade & Agua Fresca

Homemade lemon or limeade is an easy treat. When you make your own you can control the sweetness/tart ratio. Agua Frescas are Mexican fruit waters. Easily made, they are a favorite with my kids, particularly Watermelon Lime. I make a lot of these in the summers, particularly as if I make to much, I can freeze them and make popsicles for the kids. When you make these, consider the sugar optional. Puree the fruit first, and taste. Usually the fruit is sweet enough without adding sugar. A few recipes for Agua Fresca to get you started:  Honeydew Basil, Watermelon Lime, Cucumber Lime Mint.

Essential Oils with Sparkling Water

One quick and easy drink is a glass of carbonated water with one drop of essential oil. I love this with any of the citrus oils–grapefruit is my favorite–refreshing with no sugars. A not on essential oils, make sure that any essential oil you consume is pharmacuetical grade. My favorite site for essential oils is Mountain Rose Herbs.

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea drink. Made for over 2,000 years, this fermented beverave creates a probiotic drink. Many claim it has health benefits, others claim the drink is harmful because it is often homebrewed using a culture of bacteria and yeast. No studies have been done on the benefits or harm of Kombucha. I personally feel that it is beneficial, but I do think that if you homebrew, you need to be aware of proper sanitation and I would not serve Kombucha to anyone whose immune system is compromised. Kombucha can also be purchased in health food stores & Whole Foods. To learn more about the Kombucha debate click here.  My family really enjoys Kombucha’s refreshing tartness, it is a regular favorite.

Horchata

This is a lovely, Mexican summer time drink made with rice, milk cinnimon and honey. It is refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Here in Chicago, it can of course be found in Mexican restaurants and grocery stores. None of these can compare to a homemade version! It takes a little extra effort, but is definately worth the effort, especially considering the ingredient list in that commercial beverage.  Here is a link to the Horchata recipe I use.  Don’t be intimidated by the steps to make this drink.  The hands on time is less than 15 minutes!

Shrubs

Shrubs are an all time favorite in our family. Shrubs date back to colonial times as a way of preserving fruits. They are very easy to make. I have seen several methods of making shrubs although I opt for the easiest methods as described below.

The basic recipe is simple. Two of my favorites shrub recipes follow.

Blackberry Ginger Shrub

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c blackberries
  • 1 inch grated ginger (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup raw apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Mix in a jar 1 1/2 cups blackberries, grated ginger & 1 cup sugar. Muddle (mash) the fruit to help draw out the fruit juices.
  2. Add 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Let sit in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
  3. Strain the resulting liquid into a clean jar. Store in the fridge. Due to the sugar and vinegar, this will keep for a long time.
  4. Mix 1 to 2 tbsp of the liquid with carbonated water for a refreshing summer beverage.
http://apmt.us/2013/05/7-great-summer-drinks-2/

Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar Shrub

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 c strawberries
  • Mint leaves (optional)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Mix in a jar 1 1/2 cups strawberries, mint, & 1 cup sugar. Muddle (mash) the fruit to help draw out the fruit juices.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar. Let sit in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
  3. Strain the resulting liquid into a clean jar. Store in the fridge. Due to the sugar and vinegar, this will keep for a long time.
  4. Mix 1 to 2 tbsp of the liquid with carbonated water for a refreshing summer beverage.
http://apmt.us/2013/05/7-great-summer-drinks-2/

What about you?

What are your favorite summertime drinks?

Jolie Jolie (5 Posts)

Jolie Patel is a counselor and educator by trade, having been a faculty member at the College of Lake County and Oakton Community College. She also served as the Director of Program at the Counseling Center at Illinois Institute of Technology. She holds a M.A. in Clinical Psychology and completed doctoral coursework at Loyola University, Chicago. Presently, she is homeschooling three precocious children and working at her husband's (Dr. Vijay) practice. There she has found a place where her interest in living a healthy life can merge with her passion for education. She is particularly interested in how to make healthy lifestyle choices practical for those with busy family lives.


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