Healthy & Delicious: Three Simple Summer Drinks

For whatever reason, I got it in my head a few days ago that this week would be a great time to share with you guys a recipe for hot, gooey, roasted nuts. This, when the week’s forecast suggests that Edmonton will be all sun and heat, all the time. But no matter! On I forged: The necessary ingredients were procured and mental preparations were made to stand over a hot stove, on a hot day, to produce food meant to be served hot.

Fortunately, rationality prevailed. After spending a day in my breezeless apartment, I abandoned my plan in favour of a cool drink. And another. And another after that. So today, instead of a recipe that’s evidence of my silliness, I have for you three seasonally appropriate cold drinks that will keep you well away from the stove and instead let you stand in front of a fridge or a freezer.  

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Like the nuts were intended to, each drink should sate your sweet tooth. Unlike a bowlful of maple syrup-coated pecans, however, each drink is also light, and thus infinitely more well-suited to swimwear season. Which is good news because, if you’re anything like me, the ridiculous ease with which you can put one of these tasty concotions together means you’ll be consuming them frequently. 

The main recipes are alcohol-free, but for those of you looking to spike your creations, fear not: I’ve included a few suggestions on alcohols that might work well for each drink. I haven’t tested any of the grown-up variations myself though, so I can’t guarantee their deliciousness (or potency) either way. Augment at your own delight/peril. 

Now without further ado, three simple, healthy, chilly creations that you’ll actually want to make. 

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The idea: Skipping the kettle in favour of steeping tea bags in cold water doesn’t just keep you cool – it’s so much easier and helps to keep tannins (those bitter flavours that show up not long after caffeinated teas are steeped in hot water) at bay. Earl Grey creates the citrusy flavour (and caffeination) of a classic iced tea, while peppermint naturally sweetens the tea and adds a refreshing smoothness. 

The recipe (via my sister): In a large pitcher/jar/container/whatever, combine three Earl Grey tea bags, two peppermint tea bags, and 1.5 litres of cold water. Let chill in the fridge for at least two hours (overnight is fine too!), or until the tea is as strong as you’d like it to be, then discard the bags. Serve your chilly tea over ice, with fresh lemon and fresh mint if you so desire. Makes 1.5 litres. 

For the grown-ups: Top off your iced tea with a splash of your favourite bourbon or gin.

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The idea: Raspberries give a refreshingly tart edge to a nostalgia-inducing watermelon slush. Freezing the fruit before it gets blended gives the resulting drink a long-lasting ‘slushy’ texture (when simply refrigerated, by comparison, watermelon tends to separate into layers of pulp and juice). Freezing the fruit also means you don’t need to add ice at any point, which would water down the slush’s flavour.

The recipe (inspired by my brother-in-law): Freeze 3 heaping cups of 1-inch cubes of watermelon until very firm but not solidly frozen, around 1.5 hours. In a blender or food process, combine the frozen watermelon with 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Makes roughly 2 cups (enough for one thirsty person). 

For the grown-ups: 
Add a shot of rum or tequila to your concoction as you blend.

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The idea: This rich, chocolatey drink sure doesn’t taste like a breakfast food. But because it’s made from good-for-you ingredients like fresh fruit, almond milk and cocoa powder, skipping your morning bowl of hot oats in favour of this more summer-friendly cold drink doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all. 

The recipe: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of cold unsweetened almond milk (or milk, or soy milk – whatever you’ve got on hand), 1 banana and/or 1/2 cup of frozen cherries, 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Blend until smooth, and serve it up! Makes roughly 1.5 cups (enough for one thirsty person).  

For the grown-ups: Wait until noon, then add a splash of Baileys as you blend.

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