Is there anything more refreshing on a hot, summer day than a tall, cool drink? Maybe, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me so. Perhaps sitting poolside with a tall, cool drink poured by a hot man in skimpy swim trunks. Pardon me while I blot my brow with a cold compress!

Now, where was I?

Oh, yes, refreshing summer drinks. While an ice-cold bottle of soda (or pop, or coke, depending on what part of the country you were reared) is certainly delightful, there’s no reason to submit yourself to all those chemicals and additives. Mix up a batch of these and keep them handy in the fridge.

Since so many summer drink recipes call for simple syrup, I give directions how to make your own. You can certainly buy it at any liquor store, but it’s easy to make and will keep for weeks if chilled. I store mine in a cruet with a spout, designed for olive oil, but it works great for storing and dispensing the syrup.

 

Simple Syrup

Mix equal parts water and sugar (I usually make two cups at a time, so 1 cup each, water and sugar). Bring to boil over medium-low heat and simmer, without stirring, until all sugar is dissolved (about three minutes). Remove from heat, allow to cool and pour into a dispenser or glass jar with a lid.

 

Green Tea Smoothie

Green tea has tons of anti-oxidants, so this drink is not only good, it’s good for you. This recipe serves one, increase amounts as desired.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon matcha (green tea) powder

1 tablespoon simple syrup

1 banana

1 cup milk (cow's milk, or any substitute you prefer-almond, soy, etc.)

Handful of ice

Directions
Place a large juice glass in the freezer. In a blender, mix the matcha, syrup, milk and ice until smooth. Serve in the chilled glass.

 

Watermelon-Lime Agua Fresca

Be aware that even seedless watermelons may have the occasional seed, so sip slowly.

Ingredients

2 pounds seedless watermelon

1 cup cold water

4 ice cubes

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 tablespoon simple syrup (optional)

½ cup vodka (optional)

Directions

Cut watermelon into chunks, place in blender.

Add cold water, ice cubes and lime juice.

Blend until smooth and frothy.

Add simple syrup (and vodka, if desired) and blend an additional minute.

Serve in chilled glasses.

 

Summer Dreams Soda

No need to run after the Good Humor truck for this summertime favorite.

Ingredients

Orange soda

Vanilla ice cream

Directions

Fill a glass with orange soda.

Add a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Stir with a spoon, or blend until thoroughly combined.

 

Cucumber Lemonade

This is so refreshing you’ll want to keep a pitcher available all summer.

Ingredients

1 English cucumber

6-8 lemons

2 quarts cold, filtered water

Simple syrup to taste

Directions

Rinse and peel the cucumber; thinly slice a few pieces from the middle, reserve for garnish.

Puree remainder of cucumber in blender until smooth, add to chilled water.

Slice each lemon in half; take a few slices from the center of the lemon halves, reserve for garnish.

Squeeze juice from lemons, add to water.

Taste and add simple syrup to taste (start with ½ cup).

Chill in refrigerator or for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Place a slice of cucumber and lemon in each glass, fill with ice and top with cucumber/lemon/water mixture.

 

Horchata

A popular drink in Mexico, it’s perfect with spicy food.

Ingredients

1 cup uncooked white long-grain rice

5 cups water

½ cup milk

½ tablespoon vanilla extract

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 cup simple syrup

Directions

Pour the rice and water into the bowl of a blender; blend until the rice just begins to break up, about 1 minute. Let rice and water stand at room temperature for a minimum of 3 hours.

Strain the rice water into a pitcher and discard the rice (or save and add to soup later).

Stir the milk, vanilla, cinnamon and simple syrup into the rice water.

Chill and stir before serving over ice, garnish with additional cinnamon if desired.

 

News You Can Use:

Dine Out Downtown Delray Week will be held Aug. 1-7… Farm to Fork in Oakland Park, known for its prepared take home meals now has an eat-in café… Going to a show at the Hollywood Hard rock and got the munchies? The concessions stands now offer an expanded menu including empanadas, sushi, pulled pork, hoagies and hummus and veggies.