Ah, summer. OK actually I'm not a huge summer fan. I'm just not that into sweating. Or getting sand stuck in places it shouldn't. Or sunburn.
With that said, I am a fan of fun drinks, and this summer I have not one, not two, but FOUR drinks that I have been keeping stocked in my fridge for whenever the mood strikes. The best part is they are all pretty healthy, they are all super-duper easy to make, and you can make a big batch of it and keep it in the fridge for a long time (OK, so that's the one advantage summer has over winter- cold drinks can be made in big batches to last several days and hot drinks really can't).
The first one is a favorite for many: iced coffee. To make mine, I brew a full carafe (12 cups) in a drip coffee maker. I first pour some into an ice cube tray (no need to wait for it to cool- I pour it in while it's still hot) and stick that in the freezer, then add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the remaining coffee and let it cool down a bit before putting it in a pitcher to keep in the fridge. When I'm ready to drink some, I pop out some coffee cubes, and pour some cold coffee and some milk into the glass. Done!
The great thing about having coffee ice cubes is that I can add ice to my coffee without diluting the flavor. And, if I run out of coffee, I can just pour some milk straight over the coffee cubes! Plus it just looks nice.
I also have two types of cold tea in my fridge. The first is mint tea. I brew a big batch of decaf black tea with 4-5 tea bags, pour it into a pitcher once it's cool, and add some mint leaves still on the stem straight in the pitcher. I'm lucky to have some mint growing in my parent's yard nearby that I can pick whenever I need some. If you're not so lucky, you'll be happy to know that mint is very easy to grow- in fact it can often be difficult to get it to stop growing! You can buy a small plant to grow indoors, add some to your garden, or just buy a few sprigs at the grocery store. It's the perfect refreshing drink to have in the afternoon!
The second tea I have is barley tea, which is called mugicha in Japanese. Some of you may know that I grew up in Japan- I grew up drinking this all the time! The great thing is that for kids, it's a milder, non-caffeinated version of iced tea so they can feel included in the festivities. The other great thing is that it's cold brew! So I just throw a tea bag into a pitcher of cold water, stick it in the fridge, and take it out a few hours later. If you've never tried barley tea, I would encourage you to try some. Depending on your location you may have to go to an Asian market to find some tea bags, but one package will last you a long time, and it's cheap. Or you can get them online here.
The last drink I keep stocked is some store-bought lemonade, but with my own fun addition: lime and mint ice cubes.
I freeze mint leaves in an ice cube tray with lime juice. These ice cubes make that way-too-sweet lemonade from the store so much more refreshing! I even put the ice in plain water sometimes. If I'm feeling really fancy, I blend the ice cubes and the lemonade in the blender- yum!
What are your favorite summer drinks? I hope you'll try some of these recipes to keep cool this summer!