Nina Russell
June 20, 2015 8:30 am

I don’t know if it’s the warmer weather or that it stays lighter later, but summer is a time for refreshing drinks. Don’t get me wrong: hot chocolate and hot toddies will always have a place in my heart, but there is something about a cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade that just makes a summer day that much better.

Summer drinks brings to mind a simpler time when selling lemonade for 25 cents a cup defined fun. While you can’t exactly do that anymore (at least not without a commercial license) you can still mix it up with these delightfully delicious drinks that simply scream summer. So, whether you’re relaxing with your beau on the weekend, unwinding after a long day of work or serving up a large pitcher for a rooftop party you’re throwing I’ve got you covered. Here are some easy, delicious summer drinks to keep you cool all summer.

Whip up some old-fashioned lemonade

Maybe it’s just me, but lemonade is the quintessential drink of summer. It’s cool, it’s refreshing and it’s delicious. Most people assume making lemonade from concentrate or from that powder is just as good as making it from scratch. These people are wrong. I’m all in favor of short cuts, but when it comes to lemonade, fresh ingredients make all the difference. Plus, it’s not that much more work.

Ingredients:

1 cup (from 5-6 large lemons) FRESH lemon juice

1 cup simple syrup

3-5 cups of water (depends on how you prefer your lemonade, but at least it means you get to taste it after every cup of water added)

Make the simple syrup and let it cool while you juice the lemons. I have this amazing kitchen tool that makes it incredibly easy. Add 1 cup of water at a time until it reaches desired taste. Makes about 4-5 drinks.

Beer + that old-fashioned lemonade? You’ve got yourself a shandy

Alright, so it is easier to go out any buy shandy at the store, BUT why do that when you can seriously impress your friends by mixing the most amazing shandy they will ever taste right in front of them? You’ve already got your fresh squeezed lemonade, so you’re most of the way there.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Lemonade (perfect excuse to make the above recipe) per shandy

1 chilled pale ale beer (pick your favorite) per shandy

Chilled pint glasses

Put your pint glasses into the freezer at least a couple of hours before making the shandy. When you’re ready, take it out, pour 1/4 cup of lemonade in the glass and top it off with beer. I suggest drinking the remainder of the beer, but maybe that’s just me. Makes 1 drink.

For your caffeine fix, make some iced coffee

I dunno about you, but there are some summer days that I just can’t with the hot coffee. Cold brewing coffee isn’t too hard (your method may vary, but cold brewing just means refrigerating grounds and water overnight and then straining out the grounds.) But I’m gonna up your iced coffee game.

Pour some of your cold brewed coffee into an ice mold. That way, you don’t end up with watered down coffee when you need that AM fix. You can also do this with whatever your choice of creamer is (almond milk adds a nice flavor). If you’re really trying to treat yo’self, do six cubes of coffee and six of creamer for the best of both worlds. Second, if you enjoy sugar in your iced coffee either add the sugar while it’s still hot and stir until it has dissolved OR make a simple syrup ahead of time for an easy morning sweetener. Third, add a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla or almond extract before putting it into the fridge. Yummm.

Fruit + white wine = Refreshing, amazing white wine sangria

Sangria is possibly the best drink you can make for a pseudo-fancy affair. It’s absolutely delicious and appeals to pretty much anyone. Plus! You don’t end up with red stained lips after drinking it.

Ingredients:

1 bottle dry white wine (preferably Spanish wine)

1/4 cup sugar

2 peaches

1 green apple

1 lime

1 lemon

1 pint raspberries

12 oz. seltzer water/club soda

1 cup apple juice (optional)

Pop that bottle of wine and pour into a pitcher and add the 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. If you are using the apple juice add this in as well (it makes it fruitier and naturally sweeter). Cut the peaches, apple, lime, and lemon into wedges. Put them all in a pitcher. Add the raspberries. Put in the fridge and let the fruit and the wine mingle for about 4 hours. When you are ready to serve add the 12 ounces of seltzer water. Makes 6-8 servings.

Take a trip to Rome from home with Italian soda 

Don’t even lie, we all wanna be in Italy right now. Shopping in Milan, eating Gelato in Rome or dipping our toes in the Mediterranean sea. Unfortunately spending money to make money doesn’t apply here, so for now we will have to settle for dipping our toes in a kitty-pool on our rooftops sipping Italian sodas.

Ingredients (amounts depends on the size of the glass):

Flavored syrup (any flavor you’d like although strawberry is where it’s at)

club soda

Half and half

Grab a glass and add some ice. Fill 1/4 of the glass with syrup, 3/4 of the glass with club soda and add a dash of half and half and stir. Best served with a passport and a ticket to Rome. Makes 1 drink.

What’s better than mojitos? Champagne mojitos, that’s what

As if mojitos could get better, am I right? Wrong, because they TOTALLY can. These delightful drinks are ideal to sip while standing on a deck overlooking the ocean. Or really any other location, who am I kidding?

Ingredients:

3/4 cup simple syrup

1 1/2 cup packed mint leaves (plus more as garnish)

6 limes

2 cups light rum

3 cups champagne (or sparkling wine, who are we? Millionaires?)

Make the simple syrup and let it cool. Wash the 6 limes and cut them into wedges. Put the lime wedges, simple syrup and mint leaves in a pitcher or punch bowl. Use a long wooden spoon (or if you wanna get fancy use a muddler) and mix by pressing down on the mint leaves and twisting a little until the ingredients are well combined. Add 2 cups light rum and stir. Slowly add the champagne one cup at a time and stir. Pour into glasses, place a sprig of mint on top and hand it to the luckiest guest in the world… actually, drink the first one yourself, you deserve it. Makes about 12 servings

Delicious, fragrant lavender soda

Soda, coke, pop. No matter what you wanna call it, it’s delicious. Even if you aren’t a soda person, you should try this. Anything lavender is a win in my book.  It’s calming and smells unreal, plus it adds a pretty purple hue that brightens everything.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

20-30 sprigs of lavender (you can find these in the floral or herb section of the grocery store or you can buy Lavender Elixir)

1 lime

1 bottle soda water

Make the simple syrup. When the sugar has completely melted, add the sprigs of lavender and let it cool completely. The longer you let it sit the more lavender flavored it will be. While it’s cooling, cut the lime into wedges. Squeeze a wedge into a glass, pour 1-3 TBSP of the simple syrup into the glass as well. Top it off with soda water. Makes 4 drinks.

The best ever herloom tomato bloody mary

Now this Bloody Mary isn’t one that you can have by stumbling hungover down the street to the nearest brunch spot. No it’s not all that, it’s better. While this recipe requires some thinking ahead, it’s totally worth it. Lifehack: make them the day before and cover the pitcher with cling-wrap. That way you won’t have to do anything except pour.

Ingredients:

3-4 medium to large yellow ripe heirloom tomatoes

1.5 TBSP lemon juice

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Hot green pepper sauce – to taste (I’m not a fan of the super spicy Bloody Mary, but if that’s your thing load it up)

1.5 tsp peeled and grated horseraddish

2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

3/4 cup vodka (or more if that’s how you roll)

Celery and cherry tomatoes for garnish

Put the tomatoes into a blender and puree. If you dig a chunky Bloody Mary pour the puree directly into a pitcher. If chunks gross you out or you just don’t want to be picking tomato seeds out of your teeth, pour the puree through a strainer into the pitcher. Combine the rest of the ingredients into the pitcher and stir well. My tastebuds are tingling just thinking about them! Makes 4 drinks.

Drink a cooling, fruity, yummy Mango Lassi

For those of you who have not experienced the wonder that is a mango lassi, it is an Indian mango yogurt smoothie that has grown crazily in popularity around the world. They are super delicious and a great dessert at the end of the day. It’s pretty heavy on the dairy, but don’t worry vegans and lactose-intolerants, you can substitute vegan ingredients in for the yogurt and the milk. The consistency might be a little less thick than with the standard ingredients, but the taste will still be the same.

Ingredients:

1 cup plain yogurt (fat content doesn’t matter, but it has to be plain)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup chopped mango

4 tsp sugar

Peel and chop the mango. In case you are late to the party this is the right way to deal with a mango as told by the nice people from the National Mango Board (yup that’s a real thing, folks). Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a chilled glass. Makes 1 smoothie.

Hell yes pomegranate daiquiris

You know something is good when Oprah recommends it. This recipe comes straight from the Goddess herself. You get a pomegranate daiquiri! An you get a pomegranate daiquiri!

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

1 1/2 cups light rum

1 cup cranberry liquor

1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

Ice

Combine pomegranate juice, rum, liquor and lime juice, stir and chill for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve combine 1 1/2 cups juice mixture and 1 cup ice (per drink) in a blender. Blend until slushy-like. Pour and serve. Makes 12 drinks.

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