There’s nothing like a bevy of refreshing drinks to put the pep back in your step on a hot summer day.
If you’re entertaining, consider adding a little extra flair to dinner or even a backyard party: offer a selection of good summer drinks and watch the invigorating effects on your guests.
Playing host or hostess doesn’t have to break the bank either. Keep your drinks non alcoholic, or just add a little splash of alcohol. Better yet, play with herbal and fruity flavor pairings and create your own delightful combos.
Then watch them lining up for your next party!
Homemade Flavored Water
Lemon Water Combinations
If you are considering making your own infused water, lemon and/or lime combined with sparkling water are highly popular as some of the most refreshing beverages for hot summer days.
Simply add thin slices of lemon and lime to a pitcher of water (I prefer sparkling water) and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour. Feel free to add orange slices too if you wish.
You may want to experiment with other flavors that marry well with citrus such as ginger and thyme with lemon, or orange and blueberry with lime infused water. Or how about slicing some strawberries and then adding lemon slices and mint leaves to make a beautiful pitcher of lemon strawberry infused water?
Herb Infused Water
You can also create your own herbal infusion recipes: try adding lime slices to basil, cilantro or mint infused water. And don’t forget veggies: cucumber is another refreshing ingredient you could infuse with lemon and a little cilantro for a real heat bender!
Other herbs you might want to play with are basil and rosemary.
TIPS: Slicing ingredients helps release nutrients into your infusion. You can refrigerate infused water up to 6 days according to Michigan State University. Also make sure you remove all ingredients from your infused water within 12 hours – you don’t want them decomposing in your drink…
Other Fruit Infused Water Combinations
Here are more fruit infused water ideas you might want to try towards the end of summer which you can carry right through the fall season and even the Holidays.
Apple Infused Water with Cinnamon
Easy to make, this simple recipe only uses a couple of ingredients. Core and thinly slice some red apples. Place in pitcher with cinnamon sticks and add cold water.
Refrigerate and serve in mason jars with cinnamon sticks for an inspired presentation!
Green Apple Herbal
This is an excellent way to create your own fall fruit-infused water without worrying too much about what goes in it. Start with juicy, tarty green apple slices. Then and add strawberries, raspberries or cranberries and finish with your choice of rosemary, mint, basil or cilantro.
The brightly colored pomegranate seeds add cheerful color as well as tangy taste to lime flavored water.
Simply scoop the seeds from your pomegranate fruit. Muddle those seeds before adding your slices of lime. Fill with cold water and some ice cubes.
Cranberry and orange combine famously well, so why not make an infusion to consume either first thing in the morning or to lighten up a heavy meal. Perk it up with a sprig of basil or some mint leaves if you wish.
Making your own infused water is not nuclear science. Use any fruit you happen to have on hand (lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, pears, cranberries, etc.), add water and any complementary herbs of your choice. Refrigerate!
Simple Refreshing Drinks
Think fresh summertime drinks, and what first pops in your mind? Home made lemonade of course! Easy enough to make with a few simple ingredients. But instead of a basic simple syrup, why not come up with your own tweaks?
You could easily add fresh, peeled gingerroot together with some chopped lemongrass to your saucepan, bring the syrup to a boil, reduce the heat and let everything simmer for 25-30 minutes. Let the syrup cool and strain before adding to your lemonade. Expect a profusion of Oooohs and Ahhhhs…
Fresh Ginger and Lemongrass Lemonade
½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 4 whole lemons)
3 cups cold water
Fresh mint for garnish
In a 32oz glass pitcher, add lemon juice and water; stir to combine. Add simple syrup to taste. Pour over ice with fresh mint for garnish. For a little extra sweetness, simply add a dash of infused simple syrup.
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
2 3” stalks lemongrass, cut into small chunks
3” fresh ginger, peeled and cut into small pieces
Add water and sugar to a medium saucepan. Add chopped ginger and lemongrass. The smaller you cut each piece, the more surface area you will expose to the boiling sugar mixture, adding more flavor to the syrup.
Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Passion Tea Lemonade
This recipe was inspired by Starbucks’ popular passion tea lemonade. However, this version skips the refined sugar entirely in favor of an infused simple syrup made from honey which plays up the subtle lemongrass and cinnamon flavors found in the Passion® tea blend.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
5 cups water, divided
4 Tazo® Passion tea bags
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Ice to serve
Fresh lemon slices
Sprigs of fresh mint
Bring four cups of water to a rapid bowl in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add tea bags, allowing them to steep for several minutes before discarding.
Combine the brewed tea, lemon juice and remaining cup of water in a large pitcher. Add infused simple syrup to taste and stir to combine.
To serve, fill four chilled glasses with ice before adding the sweetened iced tea mixture. Garnish with lemon slices and sprigs of fresh mint and serve immediately.
¼ cups water
¼ cup honey, preferably local
4” piece lemongrass, finely chopped
2 small cinnamon sticks
Prepare the infused simple syrup by combining a quarter cup water, honey, lemongrass and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until mixture is heated through and starts to thicken (approximately 4-5 minutes).
Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard solids and set the remaining simple syrup aside to cool.
Creamy Orange Smoothie
This popular orange smoothie recipe is one of many easy summer drinks to make with a blender.
7 ounces Frozen Vanilla Yogurt
4 ounces Orange Juice
2 tablespoons Sugar Syrup
In a blender, add 7 ounces of crushed ice and all ingredients. Blend until smooth (about 20 seconds). Serve immediately.
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
Bring to a boil in a saucepan, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.
Non-Alcoholic Bubbly Drinks
Looking for refreshing summer drinks that are non alcoholic, or perhaps non-alcoholic holiday drinks? Here are a few recipes that should spark your interest.
Bear in mind that whether it contains alcohol or not, a bubbly drink is always a clear invitation to party… And just to show that bubbly doesn’t have to be complicated, let’s start with two super easy recipes.
Even non-alcoholic punch can be a breeze to make: our easy sherbet punch recipes simply require you to pour store-bought ingredients into a punch bowl and mix…
3 ounces orange juice
3 ounces club soda
Mix and serve over ice.
Chocolate Egg Cream
1 1/2 ounce chocolate syrup
Fill an 8oz glass 2/3 of the way with a mixture of half cold milk and half seltzer water. Add chocolate syrup and stir.
Sparkling Blueberry Maple Lemonade
Just a touch of real maple syrup is used in the simple syrup for this recipe. This adds a hint of rich maple goodness without overpowering the other flavors.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3 tablespoons fresh mint, crushed
1-2 tablespoons real maple syrup
3 tablespoons honey, preferably local
3 cups water, divided
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup club soda
Ice cubes to serve
Add lemon juice and 2 3/4 cups water to a large pitcher. Add blueberry maple simple syrup to taste and stir to combine.
Fill 4 glasses with ice. Fill each two thirds full with blueberry lemonade mixture. Top off each glass with club soda and garnish with sprigs of fresh mint, blueberries and/or lemon wedges.
Blueberry Maple Simple Syrup
Over medium heat, combine blueberries, mint, maple syrup, honey, plus 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan.
Simmer until mixture is heated through and starts to thicken (about 4-5 minutes), gently pressing the blueberries with a wooden spoon while stirring to help release juices.
Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh strainer to separate the solids. Reserve remaining liquid syrup and set aside to cool.
8 ounces orange juice
8 ounces pineapple juice
8 ounces Hawaiian Punch
1 liter Club Soda
1 liter Ginger Ale
1 quart Rainbow Sherbet
Pour all liquid ingredients into a large bowl filled with ice. Add sherbet just before serving.
6 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 (46oz) can pineapple juice
1 (12oz) can orange juice concentrate
1 (6oz) can lemonade concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (2 liter) bottle Sprite or 7-Up
1 quart pineapple sherbet
In a pan over medium heat, bring sugar and water to a boil. Cook just enough for sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat and cool.
In a large bowl, add vanilla, soda, juices and sugar water; stir well. Add sherbet just before serving.
Summer Alcoholic Drinks
Sparkling Blackberry Basil Cocktail
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
8-10 large fresh or frozen blackberries
3 tablespoons fresh basil, torn
¼ cup honey, preferably local
¼ cup water
4 ounces Elderflower liqueur (optional)*
1 750ml bottle Prosecco, chilled
Fresh basil sprigs
* Elderflower cordial can be used for a non-alcoholic drink – Bottle Green makes great cordials!
Add blackberries, basil, honey and water to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is heated through and starts to thicken (approximately 4-5 minutes). Gently press on blackberries while heating to release juices.
Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids. Reserve remaining liquid and set aside to cool.
Divide the Elderflower liqueur among four champagne flutes, along with a drizzle of the blackberry simple syrup. Finish by topping off each glass with some chilled Prosecco.
Garnish each glass with 2-3 fresh blackberries and a sprig of fresh basil before serving.
Frozen Watermelon Slush
Prep time: 10 minutes (+ time to freeze watermelon)
6 cups seedless watermelon, cut into small chunks and frozen
2 cups chilled brewed Tazo® Passion tea (or water)*
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey, preferably local
2 tablespoons fresh mint
6-8 large ice cubes (optional)
4-6 ounces premium vodka (optional)
Sprigs of fresh mint
Small watermelon wedges
* Although it is optional, Tazo® Passion tea greatly enhances the flavor of this recipe when compared to using plain water.
Add frozen watermelon, chilled tea (or water), lime juice, honey and fresh mint to a high-powered blender. Blend on high until thoroughly combined, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add ice cubes if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Pour watermelon mixture into four chilled glasses, topping each with a 1- to 1½-ounce floater of premium vodka (optional). Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint and/or watermelon wedges and serve immediately.
Spiced Watermelon Margarita
This homemade margarita recipe with triple sec is sure to put you on this summer’s map of serious party givers.
3 cups fresh seedless watermelon, cut into small chunks
2 teaspoons lime zest
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 whole limes)
4 ounces white tequila
2 ounces triple sec
Ginger simple syrup to taste
Small watermelon wedges for garnish (optional)
Place all ingredients except simple syrup into a blender. Blend on high until pulverized. Adjust ingredients to balance the flavors to your liking. If needed, drizzle some simple syrup into the blender and blend until you reach the desired sweetness.
Pour into prepared margarita glasses and serve immediately. Of course another alternative is to use a proper Margaritaville concoction maker, but there’s a catch: do you really want to be the official summer party host forever…?
For the Rim
3 tablespoons coarse Himalayan sea salt, crushed
1 tablespoon red chili powder (optional)
To line the rim of the margarita glasses, grind some coarse Himalayan salt in a coffee grinder or blender – expect some dust! Add the ground salt and chili pepper (if desired) to a shallow plate. Then, moisten the outside rim of each glass with a piece of fruit. Turn the glass at a 45-degree angle and roll it around in the salt or salt mixture on the plate.
Use a damp paper towel to tidy up the bottom edge so you have a nice line. Adding the salt to the outer edge only will prevent it from getting into your drink and affecting its taste.
Ginger Simple Syrup
Though you could use a basic simple syrup, a little ginger flavor elevates this concoction to new heights.
Add 1 cup water and 1 cup white sugar to a medium saucepan. Peel a 3” piece of fresh ginger and chop into small pieces before adding to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool.