A can of soda or bottled sport drink might be easier, but preparing warm-weather drinks from scratch is fun and allows more control over ingredients and the amount of sugar we consume.
Break out the fancy glasses and delight friends and family with a homemade concoction theyíll ask for again and again.
Nothing is more synonymous with springtime as rhubarb. A cool season, perennial vegetable with a distinctive tangy taste, rhubarb is typically used in pies and sauces but serves us well in an iced-tea that really isnít tea at all.
8 stalks rhubarb, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 cups water
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
In a large saucepan, combine rhubarb and 8 cups water; bring to a boil and simmer for one hour. Strain the liquid, add sugar to taste, stirring to dissolve, and allow to cool. Serve over ice with a sprig of mint.
Shortly after the rhubarb fades it is strawberry season. Nothing beats the sun-drenched taste of strawberries you picked yourself. If you grew them yourself, thatís even better. Red, ripe and full of flavor, store-bought varieties simply cannot compare to this late spring-early summer fruit.
1 pint strawberries
8 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Soda water or seltzer
Puree strawberries and 2 teaspoons sugar in a blender. Using two glasses, spoon 3 tablespoons of the strawberry puree, 4 tablespoons sugar, and 4 tablespoons lemon juice into each glass. Stir the lemonade and add ice. Top off the glasses with seltzer water. Add more sugar if desired.
If you simply canít get enough June strawberries or perhaps you are looking for ways to use up the ones from your garden, the classic nonalcoholic strawberry daiquiri is always a hit. For a taste of the islands, toss in a shot of coconut water.
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 cups ice cubes
Combine strawberries, sugar and lime juice together in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes and blend until frothy. Serve in a tall glass rimmed with sugar and garnish with lime slices.
Raspberry season is just in time to try something a little different. We donít often think of raspberries as an ingredient in drinks outside of the artificially flavored iced teas and lemonades found in restaurants. They add a stunning color and flavor to warm weather drinks and are especially good when they are in season.
Sangria is the original fruit punch. Typically made with wine, substituting sparkling grape juice can turn this Spanish drink into something the whole family can enjoy. Experiment here, using your favorite combinations of fresh fruits both in the drink and as a garnish.
1 dozen fresh raspberries
1 dozen fresh blueberries
1 lemon, sliced
2 limes, sliced
1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
1 dozen mint leaves, torn
2 cups ice cubes
1 bottle (non-alcoholic) sparkling red grape juice, chilled
In a large serving pitcher, combine the sliced lemon, limes, and the orange. Add the raspberries, blueberries, and the mint. Add the ice cubes. Pour the chilled grape juice over the fruit mixture and gently stir. Sangria is delicious right away or let it sit for several hours to allow the flavors to develop.
With drinks we often forget how delicious they can be and on top of that, with fresh fruits and vegetables as a staple ingredient, they are also nutritious. Cheers!
Published: April 24, 2012