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?
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 – and refrigerate!
Herb Infused Water
You can also create your own herbal infusion recipes: try adding lime slices to basil, cilantro or mint infused water. Other herbs you might want to play with are basil and rosemary. And don’t forget veggies: cucumber is another refreshing ingredient you could infuse with lemon and a little cilantro for a real heat bender!
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…
Fruit Infused Water
Here are more fruit infused water combinations 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.
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
Garnish: 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.
Peach Iced Tea with Ginger
Can you think of anything more refreshing than a tall glass of lovely peach iced tea on a hot summer afternoon? Add fresh ginger, and nirvana is right at your fingertips. A fruit iced tea is not just a great way to beat the heat this summer, but also a quick tea idea for an elegant garden party. Using your Instant Pot, you can have it ready to sip in under 30 minutes!
TIP: Remove tea bags as soon as the pressure has been fully released to prevent bitterness. If you prefer stronger tea and want to leave the bags in longer, add a pinch of baking soda prior to brewing.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes + time to come to pressure
8 cup water
6 organic black tea bags, paper tags removed
4 fresh peaches, pitted and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
Local honey to taste
1 fresh peach, cut into thin slices
6-8 fresh mint sprigs
1. Add water, tea bags, peaches, and fresh ginger to Instant Pot and stir to combine.
2. Add lid and lock into place. Switch the vent to “Sealing” and set the “Manual” setting on normal for 5 minutes.
3. When finished, allow pressure to release naturally (NR) for 10-15 minutes, then do a quick release (QR) to allow the remaining pressure to escape.
4. Carefully strain hot tea mixture with a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids. Pour the remaining liquid into a large, heat-resistant pitcher.
5. Sweeten with honey to taste and stir to combine. Cool slightly before serving over ice with peach slices and sprigs of fresh mint.
Creamy Orange Smoothie
7 ounces Frozen Vanilla Yogurt
4 ounces Orange Juice
2 tablespoons Sugar Syrup
This popular orange smoothie recipe is one of many easy summer drinks to make with a blender. 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.
Watermelon Mint Simple Syrup Lemonade
Three words that separately define refreshing. Be thankful that this mint watermelon lemonade recipe is also super easy, because you are sure to have family and guests clamoring for this drink on hot summer days. A simple tip to wow your guests: make extra lemonade and freeze it into ice cubes, then use to refresh drinks as the evening progresses. Or make an ice ring and showcase it in a punch bowl.
Though the mint-infused simple syrup is optional (see below), it is a nice added touch and complements the watermelon flavor beautifully. Just be careful how much you add as watermelon is already quite sweet. Also keep in mind that it should be prepared in advance and allowed to cool before using. For an adults-only version, add some citrus-flavored vodka before serving.
6 cups fresh watermelon, rinds removed, cut into chunks
¾ cup fresh lemon juice (6-8 medium lemons)
½ cup cold water (extra if needed)
½ cup fresh mint leaves, tightly packed, stems removed
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs, lemon slices
Add watermelon chunks, lemon juice and ½ cup cold water to a blender and blend until liquefied. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to remove any larger particles. Taste and add more water if needed. Sweeten with mint-infused simple syrup if you wish (see below).
Bruise ½ cup fresh mint leaves with fingers to release oils and add to the bottom of a large glass pitcher. If serving immediately, add ice cubes to the container and pour watermelon mixture over top. Add fresh lemon slices for garnish. Pour over ice, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint and a lemon slice.
Mint Simple Syrup (optional):
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves, stems removed, crushed
Add sugar, water and crushed mint leaves to a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard mint leaves. Cool completely before using.
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
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
Optional Garnish: mint sprigs, fresh blueberries, lemon wedges
1. Add lemon juice and 2 3/4 cups water to a large pitcher. Add blueberry maple simple syrup to taste and stir to combine.
2. 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 (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):
1. Over medium heat, combine blueberries, mint, maple syrup, honey, plus 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan.
2. 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.
3. 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
1. 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.
2. 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
* Elderflower cordial can be used for a non-alcoholic drink – Bottle Green makes great cordials!
Garnish (optional): fresh blackberries, fresh basil sprigs
1. 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.
2. Remove from heat and strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids. Reserve remaining liquid and set aside to cool.
3. 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.
4. 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)
Garnish: 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.
1. 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.
2. 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)
1. 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.
2. 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.
Refreshing Peach Basil Wine Spritzer
This light and refreshing cocktail combines the flesh flavors of ripe peaches and basil with the crisp taste of either Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. The bit of sparkle added by the club soda makes for a delicious treat on a warm summer evening.
4 ripe peaches, pits removed, quartered
1 tablespoon honey
10-12 fresh basil leaves, washed
½ cup water
1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, chilled
3 cups club soda, chilled
Garnish: fresh basil sprigs, ripe peach slices
1. Add quartered peaches, honey, basil leaves and water to blender and blend until smooth. Spoon mixture into an ice cube tray and place in the freezer until frozen solid.
2. When ready to serve, pour the bottle of chilled wine and club soda into a large pitcher. Stir using a long-handled spoon. Add peach ice cubes to wine glasses and top with wine mixture. Garnish with fresh peach slices and basil sprigs before serving.
3. Reserve remaining flavored ice cubes for refills or add to pitcher and hope for quick consumption before they get dissolved.
Sparkling Berry Peach Sangria
Adding sparkling water right before serving to this refreshing homemade sangria drink helps balance the sweetness inherent in its combination of fresh fruit and juices. This peach sangria recipe can easily be turned into a non-alcoholic drink by swapping the wine for an equal amount of unsweetened grape juice.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: At least 4 hours
½ cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 large orange, sliced*
1 medium ripe peach, sliced
2 cups unsweetened grape juice
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
2 cups sparkling water or club soda
*Reserve one orange slice and cut into 4 or 6 small wedges for garnish
1. Add the fruit to a large pitcher and gently muddle with a large wooden spoon to release juices. Add grape juice, orange juice and cinnamon sticks. Place pitcher in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
2. To serve, fill individual serving glasses with ice and add sparkling water to half full. Top off with chilled sangria and fruit and give a quick stir to combine.
3. Garnish each glass with an orange wedge before serving.