My favorite cold drinks for hot summer days

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.

Favorite cold drinks for hot summer days

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.)


Summer Spritzer

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.

Favorite cold drinks for hot summer days

Limonada de coco

This simple recipe from Smitten Kitchen contains just three ingredients: lime, coconut milk, and sugar, blended with ice to beat the summer heat. It takes as good as it looks.

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?

5 cold drinks for hot summer days


Leave A Comment
  1. Amber @ says:

    My favorite on a hot summer day (we have had 41 days of 100 degree weather!) is my homemade lemonade. It is delish 🙂

  2. Brenda says:

    I do like a good, tall glass of iced tea in the summertime. Lemonade too, from scratch. :o) But we have very, very good water at our place, so most often that is the beverage of choice around here….even with the kids.

    I’ll have to give that Sangria recipe of yours a try…it sure looks tasty. Thanks for sharing it!


  3. 'Becca says:

    All those sound very refreshing, but when you’re REALLY hot, caffeine or alcohol will likely make you feel worse. Try this homemade electrolyte replenisher for those really hot, sweaty times!

    One of my favorite hot-weather drinks is iced peppermint tea. I get bulk dried peppermint from the health-food store and put it in a paper coffee filter.

  4. Emily says:

    I’ve been living off PW’s iced coffee recipe ever since she posted it! I use about half coffee half raw milk and sweeten with stevia. Healthy, but still decadent. I will occasionally add a squirt of lime to a club soda, but most often I just grab a can from the fridge and drink it plain. It’s so refreshing!

  5. Tim says:

    I just made an iced coffee, and it wasn’t even 10:00 yet here! I use my Keurig machine and just brew it straight into a tall glass filled with ice. Yummy yum yum!

    • Anne says:

      Tim, I LOVE how in the summertime I don’t even have to wait for my coffee to brew–I can just pour a pre-made iced coffee at 6am! (So 10:00 is fine by me 🙂 )

  6. Alicia Jaybird says:

    I love that Pioneer Woman cold-brew coffee recipe! It makes it so easy to pour into a travel mug and run out the door with a gourmet beverage even on the busiest mornings. I’ve found that cold brew is also a great way to improve the quality of not-so-great (dry, a flavor you don’t love, or just not fabulous) coffee grounds. It seems to be more mellow than drip coffee while still pretty strong. And summer spritzers with fruit ice cubes sound like the perfect drink for a patio party! Great ideas.

    • Anne says:

      Yep, I love that about iced coffee, too. I also love how when I make a giant batch of cold-brew iced coffee, fresh coffee beans don’t have a chance to go stale.

  7. Sarah says:

    Hey Anne! I love sangria and it’s so fun to try new recipes. I recently bought a travel-safe carafe, so I can bring sangria to picnics and backyard barbecues. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

    PS — Excited to meet you at Influence this fall!

  8. Anne says:

    A thermal carafe is a great idea! You’re going to be one popular party girl 🙂

    And yay for Influence! I’m so glad I’ll get to meet you there.

  9. melissa says:

    Ooohh, I forgot about PW iced coffee! Do you measure the 5 oz of coffee in a glass measuring cup or weigh it? I’ve forgotten how I reduced the recipe because 24 servings is way too much. Thanks,Anne 🙂

    • Anne says:

      I weigh it. I love my kitchen scale! Although with a 16-ounce bag of coffee it’s pretty easy to divide into 4-ounce portions and go from there. 🙂

  10. Ann says:

    Love cold-brew iced coffee. It’s been my go-to for swim team mornings this summer.

    I’m also a big fan of basil lemonade. It’s just a little bit different and perfect when you have a lot of basil to use up.

  11. Tiffany says:

    Don’t laugh me off the page, but McDonalds iced coffee is pretty good for $1, any size. Thanks for the recipe on coconut limeade that’s the only one here I haven’t tried.

  12. Liza Lee Grace says:

    A favorite in my family is what we call summertime tea. We start to brew tea (heat 4 cups water in the microwave then add 5-6 tea bags to steep for 5 minutes.) Pour the steeped tea, 1cup sugar, and a can each of frozen lemonade and limeade concentrate into a gallon pitcher. Add enough cold water to make a gallon. The last time

    • Liza Lee Grace says:

      Sorry…I hit post comment by accident…I was trying to write that the last time we had it, the summertime tea was gone in 2 days. And I drank most of it. 😉

  13. Kim says:

    I love my iced coffee. I discovered the aeropress coffee maker a few months ago. It really does make a great iced coffee. I hate the mess of cold brewing. But you are right, it’s a pain to make first thing in the morning when I haven’t had a cup of coffee yet.

  14. Lee Ann says:

    Try Spindrift sparkling waters; they contain a little bit of fruit juice, no added sugar, and are absolutely delicious. I love the grapefruit, blackberry, and raspberry lime flavors, and they also make a strawberry lemonade that is fabulous. Spindrift is great on its own or as a mixer with whatever you have on hand – vodka, gin, tequila, rum, etc.

  15. Megan says:

    I know how you love Spindrifts…in the summer, I add lavender syrup to the lemon ones. A perfect lavender lemonade, not too sweet!

  16. I too love iced coffee. After I have gardened all day, sometimes an old school red beer hits the spot. Frosty glass, ice cold lager beer (none of those fancy beers) and Clamato juice. My mom didn’t drink much, but that was her go to after gardening also. I also drink it to honor Mom.

  17. Starla says:

    When making iced tea, I use 1-2 teabags of flavored teas along with the plain tea. A favorite flavor is Republic of Tea’s blackberry sage. Celestial Seasonings also makes some great flavors. I like having the subtle fruit flavor without it being too strong.
    I also recently bought a pitcher made for cold brewing iced tea. It takes longer to make but the flavor is delicious!

  18. Mary Anne Tomson says:

    I love iced coffee, but our go to is iced tea. I use only Luzianne tea bags. (I can’t recommend them highly enough…I find Lipton to be somewhat bitter.)

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