I don’t know about you, but it has been hot where I live this month. With the heat index firmly in 3-digit territory in much of the country and no relief in sight, I’m very grateful for air conditioning—and cold beverages.
These are my favorite drinks to beat the heat. Or, at least, to make it more tolerable.
Perfect Iced Coffee
I love iced coffee. My usual method is to brew a double espresso in my trusty AeroPress, dilute with just enough water to make a really strong Americano, and pour over ice. This method makes excellent iced coffee, and I highly recommend it.
However, this summer I discovered the Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Perfect Iced Coffee. She uses the cold-brew method, and I got very good results following her directions. But what really makes her recipe perfect is that you can brew up a big batch and have it at-the-ready in your fridge, just waiting to be poured over fresh ice.
Ree’s recipe makes 24 servings and keeps in the fridge for three weeks. I don’t need that much, and I like my iced coffee a bit stronger, so I combine 5 ounces ground coffee with 2 quarts water (in a big pyrex measuring cup) and let it sit overnight before straining and chilling.
This summer wine punch is excellent party fare. My recipe is inspired by the wonderful sangria at my local Cuban restaurant.
- 1 bottle red wine (I use Trader Joe’s two-buck chuck if I have any on hand)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 lime, sliced
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 1 tablespoon triple sec
- Sparkling water, to taste
Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar, water and the end fruit slices in a small saucepan and simmer until the sugar dissolved. Cool to room temperature.
Combine remaining sliced fruit, wine, brandy and triple sec in pitcher. When cool, add simple syrup mixture, including fruit slices.
Refrigerate for several hours to chill and allow flavors to meld.
Serve over ice, adding sparkling water to taste.
This recipe is very adaptable: feel free to go nuts with whatever fruits or juices you have on hand: sliced peaches, berries, pineapple juice and orange juice are especially good additions.
It’s easy to make a non-alcoholic sangria: substitute a combination of grape, apple, orange and cranberry juice for the wine, and proceed as directed. (My favorite combo is 3 cups grape juice, 1/2 cup orange juice, and 1/2 cup cranberry juice.)
I’ve been drinking these simple spritzers on hot days ever since I first decided to kick the Diet Coke habit many years ago. They couldn’t be easier to make: pop open a can of sparkling water and flavor as desired. I find a simple spritzer flavored with a big hit of lime juice is most refreshing on a hot day, but the options are really endless.
Here are some variations to get you started; suggested portions are to add to 12 ounces of sparkling water:
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime
- 1/4 cup orange juice and a squeeze of lemon
- Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- A shot of one of the numerous flavors of Italian syrup—peach, strawberry, lime, lemon, raspberry, pomegranate, cherry, black currant—and that’s just the beginning.
15 Minute Iced Tea
I’ve been using Pam Anderson’s microwave iced tea recipe since I came across it in her CookSmart cookbook ten years ago, so I was thrilled to see her new flavored tea variations: lime and mint, ginger, and (my personal favorite) orange and clove.
It takes 15 minutes to go from an empty pitcher to cold iced tea, and could not be any simpler. I use plain Lipton tea bags.
Limonada de coco
These drinks may not be enough to beat this unrelenting heat wave, but they’ll sure make it more tolerable. (And if you’re in Seattle, San Francisco, or some other pleasantly-climated locale, go ahead and enjoy a cold drink anyway. Those of us melting away won’t hold it against you.)
What’s your favorite drink for a hot summer day?