Whether you plan to host a full-blown summer bash or spend some quality me-time on your back porch, mixing up a few summer drinks will make the experience even better. Get your outdoor space summer ready and try these eight DIY refreshments to keep you cool.
The flavor options for fruit-infused water are limited only by your taste and imagination. Simply add slices or cubes of peeled fresh fruit to a gallon or half-gallon of water, then let the mixture chill for four hours or overnight. Many fruits can be complemented well with fresh herbs such as mint or basil. If you prefer recipes to experimentation, you can find hundreds online with a quick search.
For a refreshing twist on Sangria, add mint leaves and thin slices from one small honeydew melon (sans the seeds and rind), one lime, and one seedless cucumber to a large pitcher. You can adjust the amounts to suit your taste, substitute halved green grapes for the melon, and even add lime or grape juice for an extra boost of flavor. Add a bottle of white wine, then cover and chill for at least four hours. When you’re ready to serve, just strain out the solids and replace them with fresh slices, then add one liter of carbonated water before serving.
You can also use cucumber to make a cucumber gin and tonic. Just shake together some cucumber cubes with one tablespoon of lemon juice, then add three tablespoons of gin, one tablespoon of St. Germain liqueur, and one-third cup of tonic. Garnish with a cucumber spear.
Raspberry Sherbet Punch
Punch is a quintessential party drink, and there are several ways to kick it up a notch. Instead of your usual recipe, try making raspberry sherbet punch with a two-liter bottle of Sierra Mist, a two-liter bottle of club soda, one fruit punch or pink lemonade can, one pineapple juice can, and several scoops of raspberry sherbet. The first two ingredients should be chilled, while the third and fourth should be thawed in the refrigerator. Garnish with fresh raspberries and pineapple slices.
Lemonade Sweet Tea
For this delicious mash-up, steep two family-size tea bags in three cups of boiled water for 10 minutes. Then discard the tea bags and add half a cup of sugar, four cups of cold water, and half a can of frozen lemonade concentrate. To kick it up a notch, include a cup of mint leaves when you steep, or add one cup of bourbon or one cup of spiced dark rum for an adults-only version.
If you would prefer that your tea and lemonade stay separate, no worries! You can mix up a pitcher of each and let guests decide. You can even have several flavored varieties of each, such as berry lemonade or pomegranate hibiscus iced tea.
Melon quenchers make another great party drink. You can easily mix up single servings in a blender by adding one cup of melon puree, three ice cubes, a little fresh grated ginger, a couple teaspoons of yogurt, and a teaspoon of honey. Blend until frothy and smooth, then pour. Add more honey for sweetness, as well as some shredded lime peel for flavor and sparkling water to fill the glass. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon all work great for this recipe, and you can serve with skewers of frozen melon balls.
Summer Fruit Daiquiris
Serving summer fruit daiquiris is another way to give your guests multiple options with minimal work on your part. The primary ingredients are three cups of peeled summer fruit, such as strawberries or peaches (fresh or frozen), and six ounces of frozen limeade or lemonade concentrate (thawed). Combine these in a blender with two tablespoons of powdered sugar and one-fourth cup of rum or orange juice. Keep the blender running and gradually add ice cubes until the desired consistency is reached.
Pick a few of your favorite smoothie recipes and turn them into alcoholic smoothies for your next party. Just add a little rum, vodka, bourbon, gin, or tequila, depending on the smoothie ingredients involved. For instance, tropical and berry flavors pair well with rum, while cucumber calls for gin. Citrus smoothies become margaritas when you add tequila, and bourbon best enhances a cappuccino flavor.
Strawberry Coconut Cream Soda
For this refreshing drink, mix three cups of strawberry halves with two-thirds cup of sugar and mash coarsely. Divide the mixture between six glasses, then add two tablespoons of coconut milk and one-half to two-thirds cup of club soda to each. Stir before serving.
Can’t decide which of these refreshing summer drinks to make for your next party? Consider buying the ingredients for several different drinks and letting guests mix their own. Many on the list share at least one or two ingredients, such as fresh fruit or mint, which makes it easy to offer a variety of options.