When summer arrives, it’s hard to resist the urge to dust off your pitcher and create a classic summertime tipple and sit in the sunshine.
While you can’t go wrong with a jug of icy-cold Pimm’s, brimming with cucumber and strawberries, or a sweet, refreshing iced tea, it’s time to experiment with your summer beverages – and these leave out the alcohol too.
1. Sonic Ocean Water
This unusual bright blue mocktail – usually found at American drive-in Sonic – is fun, sweet and fizzy, and perfect for kids. Although it might have you dreaming of being on holiday somewhere the sea and skies are as blue as this drink.
3tbsp caster sugar
1tsp coconut extract
2 cans of lemonade
A few drops of blue food colouring
Method: In a pan over a low heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Pour the syrup into a pitcher or punch bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Serve over ice.
2. Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
This frozen treat is quick and simple to make and packed with fresh fruit – and is very reminiscent of a Slush Puppie. A perfect way to cool down on a hot summer day, or a refreshing drink to wind down with on an evening.
150g fresh strawberries
2tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2tbsp granulated sugar
200g crushed ice
A lemon wedge
Method: Simply blend all of the ingredients together, being careful not to over mix, or it could turn watery. Adjust the sweetness to taste and serve with a sugared and lemon juice rim, and a citrus wedge.
3. Southern Style Sweet Green Tea
This recipe is inspired by the traditional sweet iced tea straight from the deep south of America, and it’s great to make a big batch to take with you on a picnic. This healthy alternative to the classic sugary sweet tea is full of flavour, as well as antioxidants.
1l boiling water
4-6 green tea bags
Honey or maple syrup to taste
8 fresh mint leaves
Method: Steep the teabags in the hot water for around eight minutes, before removing. Stir in the honey or maple syrup, top up with ice and serve with the sliced lemon and mint.
4. Lavender Lemonade
This drink is not only an unusual twist on a classic lemonade recipe, it can also help relieve headaches, insomnia, and improve digestion and symptoms of anxiety.
1-3tbsp dried lavender
300ml boiling water
Juice of 5-6 lemons
Red and blue food colouring (optional)
Method: To make the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the boiling water. Add the lavender and cover and steep for at least an hour. Strain the lavender out. Once cool, at the lemon juice and water, adding a drop of each of red and blue food colouring for a purple hue. Serve over ice and garnish with a sprig of lavender.
5. Ginger, Basil and Grapefruit Spritzer
An aromatic, fizzy twist on a classic mimosa. A light drink perfect for serving at a summer garden party. You can even freeze the leftover syrup and use it to jazz up an iced tea or a glass of lemon water.
250ml caster sugar
250ml boiling water
2 big handfuls fresh basil (plus extra for garnish)
Juice of 1 grapefruit (plus peelings for garnish)
3 cans of ginger beer
Method: Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water, add the basil and steep for at least half an hour. Strain the syrup and discard the basil and add the grapefruit juice. Pour enough ice into a pitcher sdo the syrup and grapefruit mixture just covers it. Top up with the ginger beer and serve each glass with a sprig of basil and a slice of grapefruit peel.