Summer days beg for something cool and refreshing, and while a cold glass of water will quench your thirst, there are more delicious options for an invigorating beverage. Whether you want to keep it simple or add some alcohol for a more adult drink, these drinks will satisfy your cravings for some liquid refreshment.
Limeade. For this alternative to regular lemonade, combine 1½ cups fresh lime juice and ½ cup lemon juice with 6 cups water and 1 cup superfine sugar. Mix well and serve over ice.
Strawberry lemonade. Purée 2 cups of hulled strawberries, then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Mix purée with 2 quarts sugar-free lemonade, and chill.
Watermelon lemonade. Purée 1 pound of seedless watermelon until smooth. Add 2 cans of defrosted frozen lemonade concentrate. You can also make your own lemonade. To make a sparkling watermelon lemonade spritzer, pour drink into glasses and top off with chilled seltzer.
Tropical smoothie. Combine 2 cups chilled pineapple juice, 4 cups diced mango, 3 sliced bananas, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 2 teaspoons grated ginger (optional) in a blender. Add about 12 ice cubes and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with pineapple wedge.
Pineapple cooler. Cut up a 4-pound pineapple into 1-inch pieces. Pulse fruit in a food processor until crushed, not puréed. Place in a pot with sugar, 4 cups of water, and 3 sprigs of rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and cool, then add ¼ cup fresh lemon juice. Serve over ice.
Grape soda. Purée 4 cups of seedless red grapes and strain well. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons honey, and stir to dissolve. Add 2 cups seltzer and serve over ice.
Iced white tea. Steep 4 white-tea bags in 4 cups boiling water, then chill. Bring 1 cup water and ½ cup sugar to a boil. Add 3 fresh sprigs tarragon or rosemary and steep until cool. Use herb sugar syrup to sweeten tea to taste.
Banana piña colada. Purée 2 ripe bananas, 1 cup diced pineapple, ½ cup coconut milk, and 3 cups ice cubes. Serve garnished with pineapple wedges. v
Spiked Rosemary Watermelon Lemonade
¾ cup sugar
2 cups water
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup fresh lemon juice (6–8 lemons)
7 cups diced watermelon (approx ½ watermelon)
8 oz. vodka (optional)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Place sugar, 1 cup of water, and rosemary sprigs in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for about an hour to infuse with rosemary flavor.
Combine lemon juice and watermelon in a blender and purée. Add rosemary syrup a little at a time until sweet to your taste. (About 1 cup is good.) Pour into pitcher and add 1 cup cold water and vodka. Stir to combine. Serve in glasses garnished with watermelon wedges.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.