Eat.Fit.Well

5 Refreshing & Healthy Summer Drinks to Beat the Heat


by Carrie Borzillo - August 10, 2020


The Covid-19 pandemic has put a damper on Summer 2020. Some public beaches and pools aren’t open, making it harder to beat the heat. We’ve packed on some extra pounds - yes, the Quarantine 15 is real! And, frankly, most people are just getting bored.

Well, believe it or not, we have five refreshing drinks for kids and adults that can solve some of these problems. Bored? Try these, fun new recipes. Gained weight? Replace your soda and sugary juices with these healthy, vitamin-packed options. Feel like you’re missing out on good ol’ fashioned summer vibes? These five refreshing and healthy drinks - with and without alcohol - just scream summer fun!

Lime Spritzer with Watermelon Ice Cubes

Photo Credit: Lime Spritzer, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Lime Spritzer, by Carrie Borzillo

No fruit says summer as much as watermelon does - and it’s a true kid pleasure. This Lime Spritzer with Watermelon Ice Cubes is a family-favorite as it satisfies kids’ need for a fun, refreshing treat, as well as gives the grownups a great base for a festive adult beverage.

Watermelon is also a great way to hydrate during these summer months, and it also boasts such health benefits as improving heart health, providing a great dose of much-needed Vitamin C, and even has cancer prevention compounds.

Ice Cube Ingredients

● 2 cups watermelon (no rind, but seeds are okay)

● 1 tablespoon honey (you can also use agave syrup)

● 1 ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed is best, but you can use lime juice in a jar too)

Ice Cube Directions

Puree the watermelon, honey or agave, and lime juice in a blender on high until very smooth. It won't liquefy fully, but slushy is just fine for this. Pour the mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze until fully hard - about four to five hours. I like to make these the night before I want to serve the drink to make sure the cubes are fully frozen.

Spritzer Ingredients

● 2 ounces lime juice

● 1 bunch fresh mint

● Splash of club soda or sparkling water

● Unflavored vodka or clear tequila for the adult version

● Optional sweetener: 1 tablespoon of simple syrup, honey, or agave for a sweeter version

Photo Credit:  Spritzer Ingredients, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Spritzer Ingredients, by Carrie Borzillo

Spritzer Directions

In a small pitcher, mix the lime juice, full sprigs of mint, and sweetener (optional). Let the flavors marinate in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Pour into glasses with the watermelon ice cubes. For adults, this basic mixture is a great base for a refreshing summer cocktail that you can add either 1 shot of vodka or clear tequila. Top each glass with club soda or sparkling water.

Garnish with a sprig of mint and/or a skewer with whatever fruit or berries you have handy. The skewer in the photo above is simply blueberries. You can skewer blueberries fresh, or frozen. I like to keep a batch of frozen berries in the freezer at all times to add to drinks in the summer.

Tip: Don’t chop the mint. Keep the sprigs intact - stems and all - to allow it to flavor your drink without getting tiny pieces of chopped up green mint stuck in your teeth! Added bonus: These ice cubes can be used in other drinks throughout the summer as well, including plain water and really any vodka or tequila drinks you make.

Sparkling Blueberry Lemonade

This twist on a classic lemonade provides a huge dose of antioxidants from the blueberries. This powerful little berry can also help with heart health, bone strength, blood pleasure, and better skin, among many other benefits. It’s also chock full of Vitamin C. And, let’s not forget that lemon has some health benefits too. Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C, and they also help prevent kidney stones and protect against anemia.

Blueberry Syrup Ingredients

Photo Credit: Blueberry Syrup, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Blueberry Syrup, by Carrie Borzillo

● 4 cups fresh blueberries

● ½ cup white granulated sugar

● Juice of 1 lemon

● Cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer

Lemonade Ingredients

● 20-24 lemons, juiced

● 4-5 cups white granulated sugar

● Sparkling water or club soda

● For adults: Add champagne, vodka, or tequila

● Tip: Instead of making the lemonade from scratch, you can use a lemonade mix. This recipe is really all about the blueberry syrup anyway!

Directions

Sautée the blueberries, lemon juice, and sugar in a saucepan on the stovetop at high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring regularly. After it boils, reduce the heat to medium to simmer for 20-25 minutes until it's the consistency of a syrup. Stir regularly. Using either a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer, strain the blueberries over a mason jar or bowl to release just the juice. Chill the blueberry juice in the refrigerator until cold.

If you hate throwing away food as much as I do, save the leftover chunky part of the blueberries to make blueberry ice cubes. Add the leftovers to water in an ice cube tray and freeze for future use. Berry and fruit ice cubes are the perfect pop of summer to add to your kids’ water or into a vodka/tonic cocktail for adults. It’s also a great way to get kids to drink more water and to keep them away from those sugary summer drinks they love too much.

Now, for the lemonade. Mix 4-5 cups of sugar with 6 cups of sparkling water until the sugar dissolves. Squeeze the juice out of 20-24 lemons. (You can also just buy lemon juice in a bottle and mix it in a 50/50 fashion). Mix the sugar-water mixture with the lemon juice, and then slowly add the blueberry syrup. Taste as you go to see if you need to add more lemon, blueberry juice, or sparkling water. For adults, adding champagne to it makes for a nice twist on a mimosa, or you can add vodka or tequila for a refreshing cocktail.

Photo Credit: Sparkling Blueberry Lemonadem, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Sparkling Blueberry Lemonadem, by Carrie Borzillo

Strawberry Limeade

Another summer (and kid) favorite is juicy, fresh, ripe strawberries. If you’re bored of lemonades, try this Strawberry Limeade for a great combination of sweet and tart. With the natural sweetness of strawberries, there is no need to add any sugar to this drink. Fun fact about strawberries - they’re packed with more Vitamin C than oranges! Strawberries also have a lot of fiber to help keep you regular and are known to boost your immunity, protect your heart, and ward off certain cancers.

Ingredients

● 1/2 cup lime juice - ¾ cup if you want it tarter

● 1/2 lb sliced strawberries (of course, take the stems off!)

● 2-4 sprigs of whole mint for garnish

● 2 cups cold water, club soda, or sparkling water

● Optional: 1/3 cup white granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water to make a simple syrup. This drink is just as good (if not better) without the added sugar, especially since the strawberries already add sweetness.

Directions

If you choose to go the sugary route, make the simple syrup first. Simply combine ⅓ cup of water and ⅓ cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for about 7-10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Set that aside to cool.

For the drink portion, combine the lime juice, simple syrup (or not!), sliced strawberries, and 2 cups of cold water (sparkling water or club soda gives it an extra special touch, though!). Let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour or two to chill and to allow the flavors to blend nicely.

Serve with ice cubes (you can even use the aforementioned watermelon or blueberry ice cubes, or just regular ones) and garnish with a sprig of whole mint and a skewer of, again, any berries or fruits you have in the kitchen. The skewer in the photo above features chunks of pineapple and blackberries.

Photo Credit: Strawberry Limeade, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Strawberry Limeade, by Carrie Borzillo

Mint-Lemon Iced Tea

Photo Credit: Mint Lemon Iced Tea, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Mint Lemon Iced Tea, by Carrie Borzillo

For this Mint-Lemon Iced Tea, you can use any tea you have handy. I’ve done this recipe with black tea, organic green tea, and even peppermint tea for a super-minty flavor. Green tea is a great choice for all the health benefits it has to offer, such as boosting metabolism, burning fat, lowering bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein), and fighting against depression and anxiety, among many other health benefits. For this recipe, I used good ol’ fashioned Lipton black tea.

Ingredients

● 4-6 tea bags of your choice

● 1 lemon

● 5-8 whole sprigs of mint

Directions

Fill half a pitcher (with boiling water and add 4-6 tea bags (4 if you like it weaker, 6 if you like your tea stronger). Let the tea steep for about 3 minutes. Take the tea bags out, and add 5-8 whole sprigs of mint (again, depending on how minty you like it) and 4 slices of lemon. Fill the rest of the pitcher up with ice. You want to add the ice last so that the mint and lemon don’t float to the top. This will help it flavor the ice tea fully.

Refrigerate it until it’s chilled, but an hour is a good amount of time to allow the mint and lemon to really soak in. Serve in a glass with ice and garnish with a whole sprig of mint. You can either add a lemon chunk onto a bamboo skewer to further garnish or just toss in a ring of lemon to float in the glass.

Photo Credit: Mint Lemon Iced Tea Ingredients, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Mint Lemon Iced Tea Ingredients, by Carrie Borzillo

Emergen-C Super Orange, Pineapple & Berry Smoothie

All during this pandemic, I’ve been adding packets of Emergen-C Super Orange (but any citrus or tropical flavor will really do) to everything, such as water, vodka drinks, and even replacing regular orange juice with Emergen-C’s Super Orange for a powerful Screwdriver or my Sunday mimosas. Emergen-C packets are full of vitamins that help fight off colds and boost your immune system.

Ingredients

● 1 packet of Emergen-C flavor of your choice. I used Super Orange for this one, but Tropical, Coconut-Pineapple, or Strawberry-Kiwi would also work well.

● ¼ cup Blackberries (you can use blueberries or raspberries instead if you want)

● ¼ cup Strawberries

● ½ cup Pineapple

● ½ cup Unsweetened almond milk

● 2 cups ice

● Optional for adults: Rum or Tequila. I used Bacardi Coconut Rum to give it a more tropical feel.

Directions

Simply blend all of the ingredients in a blender on high until smooth. Garnish with a colorful drink umbrella and skewer of whatever ingredients you have leftover. For this one, I put a chunk of orange, pineapple, and strawberry on a bamboo skewer.

Photo Credit: Emergen-C Smoothie, by Carrie Borzillo
Photo Credit: Emergen-C Smoothie, by Carrie Borzillo

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