Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seasons Change, and So Do Drinks

I the wintertime I keep my thirst quenched with a steady stream of herbal tea, rooibos chai, hot chocolate and water. In the spring I switch to a bit more water and herbal tea with the occasional sparkling water or rootbeer when its warm.

But on this first day of Summer, I thought I'd give you a list of some of my favorite homemade summertime beverages. Plus, my poor sweetie is at work on Father's Day and our boys are at their mom's. And there's nothing that cheers Mike up like a tasty drink. So here goes:

1. The Summertime Staple Lemonade.
Basically not a warm day goes by that I don't sip down one of these. It's not super sweet or super lemony. Most would say that it's kinda watery. But that's what keeps it thirst-quenching and slightly healthier than Minute-Maid! Just take a big quart sized canning jar, add a splash (2-3 Tbsp.) of lemon juice and the same amount of pure maple syrup. Then fill the rest with room temp. filtered water. Stir and enjoy! I use Santa Cruz organic bottled lemon juice for this. Before you shake your head in disappointment at my using bottled lemon juice, just know that there are no preservatives added and that this is darn tastly lemon juice. And Santa Cruz puts out plenty of coupons. As for the maple syrup- I buy Anderson's grade B maple syrup from Cumberland, WI by the gallon from the Co-op. Sure, it's an investment. But it's great always having plenty of
syrup for lemonade!
2. Homemade Soda and Root Beer.
Mike's known for his crazy brews (Cherry Ginger) (Peach Fizz) (Maple Rhubarb) (Mulberry Root Beer)! The summertime brings us a plethora of slightly bruised or damaged fruits from the co-op and we take full advantage of them by turning them into soda (or jam!). Later today or maybe tomorrow we'll have some Peach/Nectarine Brew ready. The warm kitchen temperature this time of year is great for fermentation. The start-up costs for homebrewing soda are minimal, so visit your local homebrew shop for some bottles and get started!

3. Cold Press Mocha.
I'm not a big regular 'ol coffee drinker, but I LOVE espresso and related drinks. Except that I don't drink caffeine, so I depend on the availability of decaf. A few days ago, my co-worker had the most delightful looking iced coffee beverage. The kind of drink you can't help but stare at longingly, with its crushed ice and dark "I'm filled with chocolate" coloring. He offered me a sip and I was hooked. This drink was the invention of a talented Mississippi Market barista improvising when our espresso machine needed repairing: 2 shots cold press coffee, chocolate syrup, rice milk, crushed ice. So simple and so delicious! So make a decaf version of cold press at home by steeping 1 cup of coarse ground decaf coffee in a quart of water. Refrigerate for about 12 hours. Strain and store refrigerated and covered. As for the chocolate syrup: I use this recipe.

4. Iced Herbal Tea
Okay, this should probably be called Herby-Water rather than tea. It's lightly flavored, not strong, and very refreshing. I like to use dried lemon verbena from last year's garden, lavender, and fresh mint. I pour about a quart of boiling water over a handful of lemon verbena and a Tbsp. or so of lavender, then add another quart of room temp water. Then I toss in about 6 mint leaves and put the whole pitcher in the fridge, covered. Once the tea is chilled, pour through a strainer as you serve! I usually just keep adding more water as I empty the pitcher to prolong the drink.

Drink up!


Sophia.Pflieger said...

My favorite thing to cool me down during the summer is watermelon right out of the fridge! Or blended coffee with soymilk and ice!

Megan said...

Homemade sodas sound awesome. I'm totally going to look into that.

allularpunk said...

what great ideas! that iced coffee drink looks especially tempting...