During the summer, we all want to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, but living in Texas, more specifically Houston, that length of time outside tends to shorten as we get closer to three digit temperatures. Sure, water can help you stay hydrated and cool off your body, but so do other tastier cold drinks, like cocktails, teas and other fruity creations.
Have some fun in the kitchen this summer and whip together a few of these ten best cold drinks. Make your taste buds dance while you keep your body nice and cool all summer long.
Vietnamese Iced Coffee
Plain iced coffee is delicious, but Vietnamese iced coffee is even more special (and sweeter). You can use a heatproof container with a coffee filter to make one serving, or just normally brew a dark roast coffee. If you're making a Vietnamese iced coffee for one, then steep two tablespoons of coffee grounds (dark roast) in 2/3 cup boiling water for approximately four minutes, then pour the coffee through your filter into another heatproof glass. Next, comes the best part -- the sweetened condensed milk. It's not the best thing for a summer beach bod diet, but everything in moderation, right? For each serving, add two tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk to one cup of coffee. Add ice cubes and voila! You have a cafe sua da.
Iced Sun Tea
The special part of the summer is the bright, smoldering hot sun that is present just about every single day. While it has the capabilities to cook an egg on the pavement, it can also make the best iced tea you have ever tasted. Growing up, my mother always placed a large glass jar outside filled with cold water and tea bags. She let it sit in the sun for about three hours, then placed it in the refrigerator. Even just plain black tea bags create an amazing, perfectly strong tea. Add mint leaves, lemons, peaches, mangoes, or any other fruit or herb after you brew the tea.
The best whiskey sour I have ever had was last summer at my fiance's house. His father is great at making cocktails, and after I mentioned I had enjoyed a whiskey sour, but wished it didn't taste so artificial, he decided to make it without the sweet and sour mix, and instead use fresh fruit. Let me tell you, this is the way to go. With fresh orange juice, lemon juice, a little bit of sugar and bourbon, this whiskey sour became one of my absolute favorite mixed drinks. And it was "topped" with a cherry, a maraschino cherry that is.
Ice Cream Float
Cool treats like ice cream are wonderful during the summer, but they are even better when mixed with a soda. One of my favorite combinations is lime sherbet with ginger ale. But, if the tart-sweet combo isn't your cup of tea, you can always stick to something classic like vanilla ice cream and root beer, or take a sweeter route and try this recipe from Eat. Drink. Love. This blogger makes a strawberry syrup, then adds about a quarter cup of the cold syrup into a tall glass, followed by a couple scoops of strawberry ice cream and club soda.
Now, if you want your dessert AND your cocktail at the same time, make a milkshake with a little something extra. Try making a salted caramel milkshake with vanilla ice cream, milk, salt, caramel sauce and bourbon or tequila, or make things tropical by creating Bobby Flay's Bananas Foster Milkshake with rum, bananas, caramel, cinnamon, milk and vanilla ice cream. Of course, the standard Bailey's milkshakes work as well; how about a chocolate milkshake spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur?
Be careful when drinking tequila sunrise. The intense sweetness makes it easy to chug... especially if you drink it with a straw. But, if you can sip on one of these tequila-based cocktails with orange juice and grenadine, or pomegranate juice instead of grenadine, then you should definitely make one this summer. The light orange juice layered with the deep pink/purple pomegranate juice will make for a beautiful presentation, too.
Quench your thirst with this tart and sweet cocktail. A classic Paloma includes silver tequila, lime juice, grapefruit juice, sugar and club soda (some recipes suggest grapefruit soda instead of the juice and club soda). Combine all of the ingredients except the soda in a cocktail shaker, then pour into a prepared highball glass with a salted rim garnished with a tart grapefruit slice. Topped with club soda (or grapefruit soda) and ice cubes, this fizzy, sweet and zippy drink is just what you need when lounging poolside.
Summer Fruit Sangria
Enjoy the flavors of the season by incorporating them into a sparkling white wine sangria with brandy. Take a whack at this recipe from Cooking Light featuring cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and nectarines. Combine these five fruits with brandy, and let the flavors blend for approximately two hours. Add apricot nectar and a bottle of your choice of sparkling wine, such as Prosecco, or Cava, a Spanish sparkling wine. Red wine is a perfectly acceptable substitution.
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If you can't get away to the Bahamas this summer, then bring the Bahamas to you by making a mint mojito. Muddle mint with lime juice and sugar, then add white rum and club soda. Garnish it with a few more sprigs of mint and a stick of sugar cane. As you sip on this refreshing drink, take a bite off of the sugar cane stick.
If you're more of a beer-lover, then create a beer-based cocktail like Martha Stewart's easy Orange Shandy. Make your own simple syrup, then combine with orange zest and coriander seeds. After it cools, strain it and add to orange juice and lemon juice. Combine this spiced orangeade with a light beer, such as a pale lager, pale ale or ginger beer.