There’s something about the summer that makes me want to experiment with new drink recipes. Most of the time, you’ll find water, protein, or a green drink in my cup, but I do mix it up from time to time with one of these delicious summer drink recipes which I think you’ll enjoy too. Just remember to Drink Responsibly! And if you are going to be behind the wheel or if you want to serve these at a family event, each of these can also be made sans alcohol for a delightful nonalcoholic version.
5 Refreshing Summer Drink Recipes
1. Mint Julep
A traditional Mint Julep is a cocktail or mixed drink made primarily with bourbon (or other preferred alcohol), crushed or shaved ice, water, sugar, and fresh mint. Mint Juleps are very popular with Kentucky Derby fans, a southern staple and a common summer drink recipes request. With a few tweaks, we can make this a more figure-friendly beverage, so you can indulge with a little less guilt.
Instead of the traditional version, try this:
- Leaves from 5 – 6 mint sprigs
- 2 packets stevia sweetener
- 3 oz bourbon whiskey
- 2 cups crushed ice
- Mint sprigs for garnish
- Combine mint and stevia in a julep cup or tin cocktail shaker.
- Grind this mixture with a few turns of the wrist using a muddler or wooden spoon, until you smell a strong mint aroma.
- Add bourbon and half the ice. Churn with a stirrer until the cup gets frosty.
- Top with an additional pile of ice and a whole bunch of mint.
Chef Note: By using fresh mint, and muddling it, you are releasing the natural flavors and aroma of the mint leaves.
A traditional Mojito is a cocktail that consists of white rum, soda water, mint, sugar, and a dash of lime juice. Mojitos are relatively low in alcohol content and one of the most popular summer drink recipes. Much like the Mint Julep, there isn’t much tweaking necessary to make this healthier with the exception of replacing the sugar, but I wanted to shake things up a little.
So instead, let’s try this:
- ½ lime, cut into 6 wedges
- 1 ½ Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp torn mint leaves
- ½ tsp honey, warmed
- 2 oz rum
- 4 oz club soda
- Fresh mint sprig (optional)
- Lime wedge (optional)
- Fill a martini shaker with 1 cup ice.
- Add lime wedges, lime juice, and mint.
- Mash (or “muddle”) the lime and mint with a pestle or a long spoon until well-bruised and fragrant.
- Combine the rum, club soda, and honey together, and stir gently until the honey has dissolved.
- Add to muddled mixture; stir until mixture is well-chilled.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice; garnish with mint and lime, if desired.
A traditional margarita is a cocktail made with tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. It’s typically served with salt on the rim of the glass and shaken with ice or blended with ice. Some places even serve these with a sugar-rimmed glass now (especially when other fruits are added), just in case you wanted some extra sugar, but I am trying to help you out by removing some of the added sugars, so instead…
- Kosher salt or coarsely ground sea salt
- 2 oz (1/4 cup) silver tequila
- 1 ½ oz fresh lime juice
- 1 oz fresh orange juice
- 1 tsp light agave nectar
- 1 lime wedge, for garnish
- Pour a layer of salt onto a small plate (preferably one just slightly larger than the top of your margarita glass). To help the salt stick, use a small slice of lime and rub the pulp around the rim of the glass. Dip the top of the glass into the salt at a 45-degree angle and roll it from side to side to catch the salt. Add ice cubes to your glass and set it aside.
- Fill a small cocktail shaker with ice and add the tequila, freshly squeezed juices, along with the agave nectar. Put on the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain the liquid into your glass and garnish with a slice of lime.
Chef Note: I have friends who have replaced the agave nectar with stevia and said it makes an amazing summer drink recipe, but I have yet to try this, so I cannot confirm or deny these claims.
4. Strawberry Daquiri
A traditional daiquiri is a family of cocktails with rum, citrus juice, and sugar or another sweetener being the key ingredients. These drinks are served in a cocktail glass straight up, without ice, and can be made in a variety of fruity flavors with the most popular being strawberry. With such a huge selection of frozen berries available at most local grocers these days, the sky is really the limit with the amazing flavors of frozen daquiris you could come up with for your refreshing summer drink recipes, but for now…
- 1 cup ice
- 10 oz frozen whole strawberries
- ¼ cup lime juice (or roughly 1 lime)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (or roughly 1 lemon)
- ½ cup rum
- 2 Tbsps hot water
- 2 Tbsps honey
- Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 2 tablespoons of hot water until all of the honey is dissolved.
- Blend the ice, frozen strawberries, lemon juice, lime juice, and rum in a blender until well mixed.
- Add the honey/water mixture and give it a quick blend once more.
Chef Note: You can use the honey/water combination for any drink recipe that uses “simple syrup” as this is kind of like my own makeshift “honey syrup.”
5. Classics. With a Healthy Twist
You can’t go wrong with an old classic like Vodka and Soda (with a lime). Or if you like Rum and Coke, or Bourbon and Ginger, you may enjoy a Zevia®. Zevia is an all-natural, zero-calorie, zero-sugar, carbonated water beverage that is so refreshing, your taste buds won’t know what hit them. I enjoy the Ginger Ale Soda flavor as it is made with real ginger and citrus oils and it pairs nicely with a Kentucky Bourbon. 😉
I have recently seen several advertisements for sachets similar to flavored water enhancers that you can add to water and your favorite spirit to make summer cocktails. These are on my list to try. I will have to update you, my readers, when I try them. If anyone else has tried these, please let me know how they are in the comments! And let me know which summer drink recipes are your favorites as well!