A Salute to Simple Summer Beverages

Tall icy beverages are the very symbol of summertime refreshment.  In my last post, I emphasized how important it is for those of us over 60 to make sure we are drinking enough water and other liquids. There are many delicious summer beverages that we can also enjoy in addition to water, and I’d like to share some of my favorites with you in this post.

Summer beverages include a variety of drinks – lemonade and other fruit-based drinks, smoothies, flavored teas and iced coffees……the list could go on and on!  Lemonade is always synonymous with summertime!   I keep the recipe from Sunkist for Old Fashioned Lemonade at the front of my recipe box in the summer months – it’s a great basic lemonade recipe.

Old Fashioned Lemonade

To print this recipe click here.

Ingredients:

1 cup Lemon Juice (about 6 lemons)

3/4 cup Sugar (more or less to your taste)

4 cups Cold Water

1 Lemon, unpeeled, sliced in round slices

Ice Cubes

Instructions:

In a large pitcher, combine lemon juice and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar.  Add remaining ingredients, blend well.  Serve over ice and garnish with a lemon slice.

Variations:  Add some maraschino cherry juice to make “pink” lemonade.  My grandmother used to add a can of apricot nectar to her lemonade – very yummy!

Yield:  6 cups


Another one of my favorites is iced tea.  I grew up drinking it sweet, but I don’t really want to take in that much sugar in a beverage now.  I’m not keen on artificial sweeteners either.  I make unsweetened ice tea and add a splash of orange juice to it to sweeten it naturally.  It’s really quite good!  I also like what we call an “Arnold Palmer” in this area of the country – half lemonade and half iced tea.  Try it!

I love the taste of ginger, which is an aid to digestion, and was delighted to find this recipe for Ginger Lemon Green Iced Tea.  This is so refreshing!

Ginger Lemon Green Iced Tea

Ingredients:

10 green tea bags
2″ piece of ginger, sliced
1 small lemon, sliced
4 cups boiling water
Honey (if desired)
Mint (if desired)
 

Instructions:

Combine tea bags, ginger and lemon in a heatproof 2-quart pitcher.  Add boiling water and steep for 6 minutes, stirring once. 

Remove and discard tea bags.  Strain to remove ginger.  (Lemon slices may be removed or left in the tea – your choice)
 

Add a touch of honey, if desired.  Let cool 20 minutes.  Add enough ice and cold water to make 6 cups.  Serve over ice in glasses with lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs, if desired.

Yield:  6 servings.

             Ginger Lemon Green Iced Tea


Embellishing Summer Drinks

No, I don’t mean adding little umbrellas!  Since what we eat and drink needs to be visually appealing there are a few things we can do to add to the appeal.  For a really special effect, frost the rims of the glasses by lightly dipping the top edge of the glass in liquid, such as juice, to a depth of 1/2 inch; then dip it in granulated sugar.  Refrigerate until sugar looks dry and frosty.  Fill the glasses carefully to avoid knocking off the sugar.  Chilled glasses are always nice in hot weather no matter what beverage is being offered.
 
Ice is important to keep our drinks cold, so why not fancy up the ice cubes?  Fill an ice cube tray about two-thirds full with water; then let the ice cubes freeze.  Next, place one or several of the following items on top of the cubes; then pour on additional water to cover.  Return to the freezer to complete the freezing process.
Add to ice cubes:  orange, lemon, or lime slices in small wedges or use small pieces of rind;  maraschino cherries, halved or sliced; fresh mint sprigs; green or purple or red grapes sliced in half; fresh berries, halved; small melon balls and pineapple tidbits.

 

Many of us over the age of 60 may have developed an intolerance to lactose, which is in milk and milk products.  This dairy-free smoothie recipe uses vanilla almond milk.   Blueberries are a good source of antioxidants, bananas are a good source of potassium, orange juice is full of Vitamin C and almond milk is high in calcium.  Great taste and healthy too!

Blueberry Orange Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup Vanilla Almond Milk

1/2 cup Orange Juice

1 Cup Blueberries (frozen is fine)

1 Cup Bananas (frozen is fine)

Instructions:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a blender.

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2.  Cover and blend until smooth.

If a thicker beverage is desired, add ice to the blender before serving. 

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            Blueberry Orange Smoothie

Stay hydrated this summer!

Remember to savor the flavor!

Janet