Get Your Summer Drink On!

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We know that to prepare for summer, we’re going to need to book vacations, reserve campsites, arrange activities to do with the kids, and organize weekend getaways – just to mention a few.  But the one thing that we all enjoy is the all-important, refreshing summer drink recipe.

There are a lot of recipes out there… that are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C and pack a fruity punch. Whether you want a drink you can enjoy with the kids, or something that’s refreshing to cool you down, or a drink that’s perfect for the pool side party or barbeque, our list comes complete for any occasion: alcohol free drinks, a super hydrating sports drink, and the perfect summer cocktails. Here are 7 delicious recipes for the perfect summer drink:

CUCUMBER-LEMONADE CHILLER (eatingwell.com)
Ingredients
3 large cucumbers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
1 cup water
6 ounces (3/4 cup) gin
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons agave syrup, (see Note)

Preparation
Cut 12 thin slices of cucumber for garnish.
Peel and chop the rest of the cucumber; transfer to a food processor, add rosemary and puree. Pour the puree through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract all the juice. Add water, gin, lemon juice and agave syrup to the cucumber juice; stir until the agave is dissolved. Divide among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with cucumber slices and rosemary sprigs.

Tips & Notes
Note: Agave syrup or nectar is the naturally sweet juice extracted from the agave plant.  It has a lower glycemic index than table sugar, but it is even sweeter. Use it in moderation when substituting for table sugar.

ORANGE POMEGRANATE GREEN TEA (skinnyms.com)
This SkinnyLicious recipe takes only minutes and can easily be made for one or a house full.
Ingredients
1/3 cup chilled green tea, no added sweeteners (home brewed is best)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (O.J. in a carton will work if fresh oranges aren’t available)
1/2 cup 100% pure pomegranate juice
1 lemon wedge
1 orange slice, garnish
Ice

Directions
Combine chilled tea and pomegranate juice in one glass, add a few cubes ice and pour in orange juice. Squeeze lemon into drink. This drink is especially pretty if you do not stir when pouring the orange juice. Add an orange slice to the side of the glass for garnish and pop in a straw!
This is a perfect dinner drink and a great replacement for sodas!

Tips & Notes
To  make this recipe for several, add to a half gallon pitcher:
2 cups chilled green tea, no added sweeteners (home brewed)
3 cups 100% pure pomegranate juice
3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
6 oranges or lemon slices, or 3 of each

SPARKLING LIME-MINT QUENCHER (skinnyms.com)
You’ll love this non-alcoholic drink that tastes almost like a Mojito and super refreshing. Sparkling drinks are a great alternative to alcohol and soda. They are light and refreshing, and provide that bubbly kick you love. Quencher drinks keeps you hydrated and help you cut back on sugar and calories and also accomplishes all of your entertaining goals. It’s delicious, healthy, affordable, and easy to make. Kids even love it and are delighted to drink something that is so sophisticated and adult-like!

Ingredients
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, more to taste (stevia or agave nectar can be used as an alternative…you may prefer your drink a little sweeter as this recipe is slightly tart)
2 cups sparkling seltzer water (be sure it says Sparkling Seltzer Water and not club soda or tonic water…seltzer water contains only carbonated water)
1 cup ice

Directions
Add the first 3 ingredients to a large glass, stir to combine. Add ice to 2 glasses, equally divide mixture between glasses and top each off with one cup sparkling seltzer water. Add a few half slices of lime to each glass, if desired.


ORANGE SPORTS DRINK (skinnyms.com)
This electrolyte rich drink is excellent for runners and anyone who works out hard. Instead of turning to the bottles sports drinks that are filled with dyes and other unnatural ingredients, our refreshing orange drink restores your electrolytes and quenches your thirst without the nasty risks. Our energy filled orange sports drink is easy to make and it tastes great.

Ingredients
1 quart of water (we use distilled water)
2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of Sea salt
1 pint orange juice
Juice from one lemon

Directions
Heat 1/2 cup of the water to boiling, remove from heat, add honey and sea salt, stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water to a pitcher, add the honey water, orange and lemon juice, stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to drink.


GIN & TONIC
This is the healthiest drink on earth,” jokes Anthony Dias Blue, the wine and spirits editor of Bon Appetit magazine. Blue says summer drinks should be “long” (meaning tall), should have fruit, and should refresh rather than bog one down in the heat. “No cream drinks,” he says.
Audrey T. Cross, PhD,  nutrition professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, uses diet tonic and a whole lime for plenty of vitamin C. “On the second one,” she says, “I leave out the gin. You can’t taste the difference.

Ingredients
4 to 5 tonic water ice cubes (see note)
2 ounces gin
4 ounces tonic water
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
lime wedge and / or mint leaves for garnish

Directions
Place the ice cubes in a tall, narrow, chilled glass. Add the gin, then the tonic water, then the lime juice, stirring well. Garnish with lime wedge, and serve immediately.

Tips & Notes
Note: To make the ice cubes, simply fill an empty ice cube tray with tonic water, and let the cubes freeze. It takes just a few hours. Covered well, the cubes will remain fresh-tasting in the freezer for at least a few weeks.

FRESH CITRUS WHITE SANGRIA (foodnetwork.com)
(Yields 12 to 15 servings)
While the traditional red sangria can be enjoyed all year round, the white sangria is making a big push to take over the summer spot. White sangrias generally offer greater flexibility with fruits and flavors and, add a little ice and you’ve got a perfect poolside drink!

Ingredients
2 (750-ml) bottles white wine, chilled
1 cup brandy
2 naval oranges
1 lemon, sliced
1 lime, sliced
¼ cup superfine sugar

Directions
Pour the wine and brandy over the fruit and sugar in a large serving bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stick a ladle in the sangria so people can serve themselves and have a full bucket of ice by the side of the bowl. (Don’t let the ice run out.)
Any white wine will work (Rieslings, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are all popular), so choose the one you prefer or even consider a moscato and then reduce/eliminate the sugar from the recipe.  And remember the longer you leave the fruit in the wine, the more infused and saturated the sangria will become.  Some even prefer to make the sangria in the morning and then serve it in the evening. Either way, you want your Sangria to be well chilled when served, but remember that it’s better to leave the ice in a separate bucket rather than dilute the wonderful flavors and aromas with melted ice in the pitcher.

PEACH SPRITZER
What could be better than a peach spritzer? Even looking at the name is delicious! Spritzers are definitely on the comeback and you can get really creative with them using different types of herbs and fruit combinations – not just to infuse them with flavor, but also for fragrance and presentation.  They’re great for a single serving and, like a sangria they work especially well when you want to make a large batch to serve.

Ingredients
7 peaches
2 tbsp honey
1 750 ml bottle white wine
1 liter cold sparkling water
Mint for garnish

Directions
Quarter 6 of the peaches and add the honey to a blender, puree.  Sieve the blend into a pitcher and let chill.  Once chilled, mix in the bottle of white wine, stir well and add the cold sparkling water.  Garnish with mint and extra slices of peach.

Salut!!