The first day of summer is just around the corner, but here in Atlanta we’ve had our share of scorching hot temperatures in the 90s already. Instead of turning up that air conditioner this summer, you can cool your body from the inside out with some refreshing summer drinks.
Sports drink companies would have you think that their products are the only option to stay cool and hydrated this summer, but that couldn’t be more untrue! Not only are most sports drinks loaded with artificial colors and flavors, they’re often sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and come in a plastic bottle. You can cool your body in a more healthy way and reduce your impact by whipping up your own summer drinks at home!
>>Next: Melon Puree
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by SashaW
1. Melon Puree
This is a drink I had on a trip to Jamaica. It’s incredibly refreshing and simple to make. Melons are a great source of vitamin C, and when you puree instead of juicing, you retain all of that healthy fiber. Here’s how to make your own melon puree:
- Slice up a a honeydew melon or cantaloupe into chunks.
- Blend until smooth, adding a bit of water to thin things out if necessary.
- Chill your puree before serving for extra cooling benefits.
You could probably make this with watermelon or any other sweet melon, but I’ve only tried honeydew and cantaloupe.
>>Next: Cucumber Mint Water
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by dorena-wm
2. Cucumber Mint Water
It might sound like a strange combination, but cold water with a couple of slices of cucumber and a sprig of mint is a delicious, cooling summer drink. You can serve this up one glass at a time or put together a whole pitcher to keep in the fridge. Here’s how to make an eight-serving batch of cucumber mint water:
- Combine a half of a sliced cucumber and 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped mint in a four quart pitcher.
- Top the pitcher off with 16 cups of water and chill until you’re ready to serve.
Bonus points if you grow your own mint or cucumbers to whip up this beverage!
>>Next: Ginger Cooler
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by derekGavey
3. Ginger Cooler
A spicy drink might seem counter-intuitive when temperatures heat up, but spicy foods actually help your body regulate its temperature. This ginger cooler will do the trick nicely!
- 1/4c chopped ginger
- 1/2c chopped mint leaves
- juice of one lime
- 6 cups sparking water
- sweetener of your choice, to taste
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and serve chilled. You can strain this drink, if you don’t like the texture of the ginger and mint bits, but I prefer mine whole.
>>Next: Iced Sun Tea
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Elenadan
4. Iced Green Tea with Lemon and Mint
Avoid heating up the house with the stove and brew your tea in the sun instead! This takes a bit of planning, but there’s not a lot of actual work involved.
- 15 bags of organic green tea
- 1 gallon of water
- 1/2c whole fresh mint leaves
- juice of 2 lemons
- sweetener of your choice, to taste
Combine the tea bags, water, and mint in a clean, gallon-sized container and set it out in the sun for 3-4 hours, depending on how dark you like your tea.
Remove the tea bags and add the lemon juice and sweeten, if you like.
Chill and serve over ice.
>>Next: Coconut Water
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by seelensturm
5. Coconut Water
Coconut water is loaded with health benefits. It’s rich in electrolytes and potassium, which makes it perfect for replenishing your body after exposure to the summer heat. Of course, it’s not so easy for most of us to find a young, green coconut so that we can drink from it directly like in the photo above. Luckily, you can find cans or boxes of coconut water at most natural food stores.
Unlike its richer cousin coconut milk, coconut water is low in fat and calories. You can drink your coconut water chilled on its own or add a squeeze of lime to brighten it up. It’s also great for adding a tropical twist to your morning smoothie!
Do you have a favorite cooling summer drink? I’d love to hear what’s cooking in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by rabanito