Summer Sippin’

By Emerson Shams

Summertime has arrived, and so has the heat and sunny days. Here is a collection of refreshing non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks to keep you cool while you sunbathe in your gardens. The best part is that there’s no refined sugars, but they are not suitable for vegans who do not use honey!

As a guide, NA = Non-Alcoholic / A = Alcoholic. Keep in mind that some of these drinks take some time, and you can omit ice if the drink is made the night before serving.

Ice Sweet Green Tea (NA)

Personally my favourite bubble tea base, but also very good to drink without the bubbles.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of loose green tea (jasmine or sencha recommended)
  • 615 ml water
  • Ice (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional, it tastes great either way)
  • Lychee Jelly (optional, but my favourite topping when I get bubble tea)

Method:

  1. In a teapot (or multiple mugs), brew tea in approximately 600 ml of hot (almost boiling) water [you want the tea to be stronger than normal] and leave to sit until it reaches room temperature.
  2. In another cup, put honey and 15 ml of hot water and stir until all the honey melts and let it sit until room temperature.
  3. Combine the two, with lemon, into a jug/pitcher and stir (strain the tea). Place in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Another option, if you can’t wait overnight, is that once the mixture reaches room temperature take a cocktail shaker and ice and shake until cold (or just add plenty of ice to your cup).

Southern (USA) Sweet tea (NA/A)

Also known as the nectar of the south, this is a perfect, and adaptable, summer drink to enjoy. Enjoy with or without alcohol.

Ingredients:

  • 12 grams loose black tea (Ceylon recommended)
  • 60 grams fresh mint leaves (optional)
  • 550 ml water
  • 6 tablespoons of honey (4 if you are making it NA)
  • 500 ml of lemonade (sugar free is recommended)
  • 350 ml of bourbon/whiskey/vodka (optional)

Method:

  1. In a teapot, steep tea and mint leaves in 500 ml of hot (almost boiling water) and let sit until room temperature.
  2. In a cup, put honey and 30-45 ml of hot water and stir until honey is melted. Let this sit until room temperature.
  3. In a pitcher/jug, combine tea, honey, lemonade, and alcohol and stir well. Place in the refrigerator overnight. Re-stir and enjoy. You can also do step 4 from the recipe above instead.

Honey Matcha Soda (NA)

Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 10 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
  • 80 ml water
  • 2 teaspoons matcha powder
  • Soda water (240ml per serving)
  • Ice 

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, boil water and mix in honey and peppermint extract until honey is melted. 
  2. Pour matcha in and whisk briskly until completely combined (it should bubble a bit. Leave to simmer over low heat for one minute).
  3. Remove from heat and leave to cool completely. Excess syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  4. Pour 240ml soda water over ice in a cup, then add 1-2 tablespoons of matcha mix. Stir and enjoy!

Note: can also be made using lavender instead of matcha & peppermint. Add 1 tablespoon of dried lavender to honey mixture, simmer for 5 minutes and strain lavender out.

Frozen Margaritas (NA/A)

This boozy drink is perfect on a hot day with lemon pepper chicken tacos (see Food for February article). However, it can also be enjoyed without the tequila. Makes approximately 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 236 ml of silver tequila OR soda water
  • 120 ml elderflower cordial
  • 235 ml fresh lime juice or lime squash mixture (45 ml squash/190 ml water) 
  • 90 ml honey syrup (mix 4 tablespoons honey & 30 ml boiling water)
  • Ice (add as needed for slush factor)
  • Sea salt

Method: 2 ways (overnight or blender)

Overnight (only for alcoholic version)

  1. Pour all ingredients in a freeze proof baking dish and mix.
  2. Place in the freezer overnight.
  3. Using a spoon scoop mixture and place in glasses with salted rim. 
  4. Make salted rim by putting lime juice on rim and then dip in a bowl of salt.

Blender

  1. Put everything in a blender [EXCEPT Soda water if NA] and blend on high until you get slushies. Stir in Soda water after it has blended.
  2. Make salted rim by putting lime juice on rim and then dip in a bowl of salt.

Image: Mary Beth via Flickr

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