Are you looking for a smart, healthy way to cool down during the hottest part of the summer? Would you like to have some fast and easy drink recipes on hand for virtually any occasion between the Fourth of July and Labor Day?
I scoured the Internet in search of the best summertime beverages that include healthy stuff like fresh fruit, vegetables, green tea, iced coffee (without tons of sugar), and vitamin-rich smoothies.
As expected, there are literally hundreds of such drinks listed on various recipe and beverage websites. The problem is finding the ones that aren’t just sugar-based liquid junk food. So, after combing the rafters of cyberspace, here are the finalists in contest for “best healthy and cold drinks” for the summer of 2017. Each drink is listed by name, followed by ingredients and simple directions. Many call for the use of a blender, but others don’t. (It’s hard to make a good smoothie without a blender though).
Note: While scanning the list of tasty summer coolers below, keep in mind that all are open to modification if they contain one or two ingredients you don’t care for. Feel free to omit something and maybe even substitute with a fruit or other ingredient you prefer. Many of the recipes are based on the taste of a single item, like apples or blueberries, so if you do replace the main item, you’ll possibly end up with a totally “customized” drink of your own. Experimentation is the spice of life!
A few of the concoctions below contain alcohol, so just leave it out if you prefer the “virgin version.” In recipe lingo, “tbsp” means tbsp, and “tsp” means tsp. But you probably already know that.
Orange Blueberry Goodness
A cup of blueberries, a navel orange, 1 cup of soy milk, a tbsp of green tea powder, one cup crushed ice. Blend it all together until smooth, and watch the parade of bright colors jumping around in the blender.
Smooth Green tea Masterpiece
In the above recipe, switch out the blueberries, milk and orange with 1 cup of strawberries, a few watermelon slices, and 1 cup of cranberry juice for a neon red drink that tastes, and looks, great.
For a sea-green smoothie, combine a large apple, one tbsp of lime juice, one tbsp of green tea powder and 6 large ice cubes in a blender and mix until creamy.
1 tsp cinnamon, 1 banana, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 or 2 tsps of green tea powder. This one is best if you drink it right after blending.
“Generic” Juice Smoothie
Use 2 tsps green tea, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup soy or almond milk.
This tastes wonderful over ice immediately after blending, rather than adding the ice right at the beginning. Some people think this version tastes like green tea-flavored ice cream.
You’ll need 1 cup of plain or flavored yogurt, 2 tsps green tea, 1 cup of ice, a half cup of blackberries.
This is another smoothie that is best if enjoyed right away, and can be supplemented with a dash of mint or ginger.
Japan in a Glass
A true Japanese treat, straight out of Little Tokyo in L.A., is a drink called “Sake Sake.” It’s easy to create and fun to drink. If you have more than one, you might not remember the recipe a week later, so proceed with extreme caution.
Mix 4 ounces of room-temperature water with 1 tsp of green tea powder. Add 2 ounces of sake and a squirt of lime juice. Put it all into a drink shaker with some crushed ice and shake vigorously. Then drink vigorously.
This clever drink is the direct result of old Japan meeting new-age California culture. (If you don’t like alcohol, use grape juice in place of sake and the taste will be pretty much the same, and the drink will be even more nutritious! That’s what Japanese chefs do when they need to substitute for sake in a standard recipe.)
The Arizona “ATM”
This home-grown Arizona concoction is a real treat, and a big hit in Phoenix bars and restaurants. It contains 4 ounces of apple juice, tomato juice, green tea, and lemon juice. For those keeping score, that’s 16 ounces all together. There are thousands of variations on this one, but that’s the core recipe. Bars charge plenty more for the “festival version,” which includes a full shot of vodka. If you make this at home, include fresh lemon, a high-quality cider and some V8. The no-alcohol ATM is an ideal sports drink when watered down.
The major sports bars in Las Vegas help excited gamblers (and mafia lieutenants, we suspect) relax with what most bartenders call the “goodness-green tea.” It is simply a level combination of the best Japanese beer (8 ounces) plus cold green tea. One mixologist told us that it’s important to start with hot green tea. (Most of the top bars keep a liberal supply of brewed green tea on hand to use in drink mixes).
Pour 8 ounces of beer (preferably a top Japanese brand) into a glass. Then add 8 ounces of cold green tea. Let it sit for a minute to naturally mix. That’s all there is to it! It’s really just beer and green tea, but it tastes great and of course is much more nutritious than beer alone. Mix. Consume. Repeat. Serve with salty snacks like Japanese dried peas or osembe.
The Las Vegas ITV (iced green tea & vegetable juice, or vodka)
The high-roller gambling rooms in Vegas serve lots of green tea specialty drinks. One is aptly named the Vegas ITV, and apparently is quite a big hit in the baccarat pits of Sin City. (Baccarat is the quirky card game that James Bond often played while hunting international bad guys). There is an alcohol variant that uses vodka for the “V” instead of vegetable juice. Choose your own way with that. The drink is merely a mixture of 1 part vegetable juice and 4 parts iced green tea. Put the liquids and ice into a shaker and then shake, never stir. Mr. Bond would appreciate it that way, but we’re guessing he’d use vodka.
This unusual drink is showing up on cruises and in West Coast nightclubs. It’s extremely similar to the Vegas ITV but with a heaping helping of lemonade. Try it like this: Add 1 cup of vegetable juice to six ounces of iced green tea and six ounces of high-quality lemonade. Shake it up. You’re done.
Mexicali Coffee Cooler
This summer drink began as a coffee drink in Mexicali, Mexico, back in the 1910s. It’s been referred to as everything from “Mexican coffee,” to “the Sonoran bomb,” but the recipe has been the same for the last century. Recently, border bars in Southern California and Arizona have been making it with green tea instead of coffee. Here’s how it’s made:
Pour 1 ounce of tequila and a half-ounce of Kahlua into a container. Then pour 1 cup of warm green tea over it. Top that with some whipped cream and you’re good to go.
This might be the simplest and most delicious drink for a quick summer pick-me-up. Add one cup of juiced raspberries to one gallon of your favorite lemonade (preferably made from fresh lemons and water, with no sugar). These two tastes seem like they were made to be together. Say goodbye to late July blues with this naturally sweet bit of summer coolness.
Cool Cucumber Colada
“Cucumber water” is making a trendy splash these days, but the drink has been around for a very long time, especially in the Southwest U.S. It’s easy to make too: Mash or juice one large cucumber and add it to one gallon of chilled water. The cucumber imparts a lightly sweet taste that is vitamin-rich and naturally flavorful.
Japan’s “No Name” Drink
Some of the Japanese-owned bars in LA and Phoenix serve a drink that has no name. You merely ask the bartender to combine a Japanese alcohol (known as “shochu”) with iced green tea. Apparently, this is only served in actual Japanese establishments because few Americans ever order it.
This powerful drink consists of real Japanese shochu, a wine made from rice, barley or sweet potatoes, depending on the brand. Mix about four ounces of it with iced green tea. You can make the drink at home if you get some shochu at a Japanese food store. Be cautious, because shochu is powerful stuff and acts very slowly on the human body. There are legendary tales about people losing their senses after consuming shochu. But, if you can locate a bar that serves this drink, try it. It’s one of the best cold drinks Japan has to offer.
Monday Morning Carrot Coolness
Use 1 cup of water, 1 cup of ice, 1.5 cups of diced carrots and 2 tsps of lemon juice into a blender. Carrot juice can be easily stored in a container in your frig for at least a week. Drink it straight or mix with all kinds of juices for a wide range of flavors.
Carrot Creations All Week Long
Here are some variations on the standard carrot juice recipe:
Helpful Hints and Tasty Tips for Carrot Drinks
Some people prefer to use cooked carrots, which is fine. Just remember that the flavor will be totally different so be sure to try it both ways and see how you like each one.
If you keep the carrot juice in a sealed bottle or jug, it will stay fresh for several weeks.
Diced carrots make extremely smooth drinks. Always test the thickness of the final product before you take it out of the blender. Maybe throw in a little extra lemon or a blueberry and mix it all up for 10 more seconds.
Rage of Sage
This summer drink is a hit in the Southwest U.S., especially during July and August, when the thermometer works overtime.
Combine one cup of unsweetened coconut milk with six frozen strawberries, two tbsps of cream, a sage leaf, and one tbsp of vanilla syrup.
Creamy Dreamy Strawberry
This is another low-carb font of freshness, fun and frolic. Since there are almost no carbs in strawberries, blender drinks like this are an ideal way to load up on all the vitamins in strawberries without consuming too many carbs.
Use five fresh strawberries, three tbsps of heavy cream, and one tbsp of vanilla syrup.
Sometimes simple recipes are the best way to go. Milk, ice, a few strawberries and a dash of cinnamon are all it takes to attain smoothie perfection.
You will need to use one cup of ice, seven strawberries, a couple dashes of ground cinnamon, and six ounces of whole milk.
Chilly Strawberry Chocolate Smoothie
No berry smoothie list is complete without at least one listing that contains chocolate, the most popular sweet treat on the planet.
Combine a single cup of water, two ounces of chocolate protein powder (whey), four chilled strawberries, plus three tbsps of heavy cream.
Coconut Strawberry Cooldown
Another low-carb wonder that combines one of the culinary world’s happiest flavor couples, coconut and strawberry, is a match that makes perfect sense.
You’ll need to use 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk, five frozen strawberries, 4 tbsps of heavy cream, and 2 tbsps of vanilla syrup.
Cheesecake the Nutritious Way
The nutrients in strawberries are one of nature’s best creations, so there’s no sense in delaying the gratification in this case. Weighing in with just 3.5 carbs, this tasty smoothie is almost as thick and rich as the cheesecake it’s named after.
Combine one cup of fresh almond milk, 1 cup of strawberries, 1 ounce of cream cheese, and 1 tbsp of vanilla syrup.
Sun Tea Done Right
Sweet sun tea is a tradition in the southern U.S., dating back more than 200 years. Now enjoying something of a renaissance, the drink takes a little doing to get the right effect, but it is well worth the added effort. Here’s how to make one gallon of the stuff:
Mix your favorite black or green tea to make 3 quarts. Usually about 8 to 10 teabags will do the trick. Put the water and bags in a very large glass jar in direct sunlight. Make sure the container is closed tightly. Leave it in the sun for no more than two hours. In a separate container, while the tea is brewing in the sun, combine one pint of water, one cup of grapefruit juice and one cup of orange juice. (Fresh-squeezed is best, of course, but from-concentrate will do).
When the sun tea is ready, mix everything together and add plenty of ice. Add sugar or sweetener to taste, but give it a try without before adding anything. This recipe makes one gallon.
Green Cof-tea (much better than it sounds)
Coffee-tea combinations have been around for centuries but have not enjoyed any recent success in the U.S., where tea is still not the most popular drink. Here’s a cold cof-tea recipe that has withstood the test of time.
In a pitcher, combine one quart of strong green tea with one quart of medium-strength brewed coffee and one-half cup of sugar. Add one-half cup of skim milk and a pinch of cinnamon powder. Mix well. Pour into large glasses that contain plenty of ice. This drink can also be heated by the cup for about one minute in the microwave.
Authentic Iced Coffee, the Japanese Way
Nobody knows iced coffee like the Japanese. Their tea ceremony gets all the attention and media coverage while the Japanese acumen with iced coffee is sadly overlooked. It is unlike anything served in the tea and coffee shops in the West, and there is a bit of a trick to it. Here’s how to make a pot at home:
In a coffee-maker, prepare 12 ounces of double-strength coffee. If you don’t usually brew your own, use 4 tbsps of ground coffee and 12 ounces of water. As soon as the hot coffee is brewed, pour it, slowly, into a pitcher that contains about 16 average-sized (1-inch by 1-inch by 1.5 inches) ice cubes. Let it sit in the ice for a few minutes and then stir everything together. Some of the ice will probably not melt completely but that’s okay. Now, pour about 8 ounces of the mixture into a glass that contains a few fresh ice cubes and however much sugar or sweetener you prefer. This tastes quite different, and much better, than the iced-coffees sold commercially in the U.S. and Europe.
In the distant hills of Burma, tea preparation is both an art and a ritual. Largely unknown in Europe and the U.S., Burmese tea offers a unique taste of something truly different. It’s all about the milk.
Put 16 ounces of water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat just a bit. Add 3 tsps of black tea leaves and let them steep in the water for about 5-10 minutes. Add 2 tbsps of condensed milk and 2 tsps of evaporated milk. Stir and serve hot.
Egg Coffee from Sri Lanka
From a country that is world famous for tea comes this unusual coffee recipe that is virtually unknown outside its homeland. Originally drunk by the Tamil people of India and Sri Lanka, nowadays the Lankan version of egg coffee is consumed by those who have colds and feel slightly under the weather. Think of egg coffee as a Lankan version of chicken soup. Sometimes a shot of brandy is added for those who have chest colds, but the recipe below is the non-alcohol variation.
Brew one cup of very hot coffee and add three tsps of sugar. Beat a raw egg until it is fluffy. Slowly add the boiling-hot coffee to the egg in a bowl, continuing to beat the egg with one hand while pouring the coffee with the other. After all the coffee and egg are combined, continue to mix thoroughly for a few seconds. Immediately pour into a cup and drink. The locals in Colombo, Sri Lanka, say this concoction works to relieve colds and body aches if it is consumed very hot and all at once. Careful not to burn your mouth! As a casual beverage, it can be allowed to cool a bit.
Videos, Books and How to Make Your Own Summer Drinks
There’s always more to learn when it comes to cool summer drinks. Even the world’s most experience mixologists are constantly adding to their repertoire. Check out some of the videos and books listed below to find out about exciting ways to beat the heat during the long, hot summer of 2017.
For each of the items listed, simple click the video link or the hyperlinked book title and you’ll be taken directly to either the clip or the Amazon page for the books.
Want some healthy summer drink ideas that don’t take more than 2 minutes to whip up? The video link below is a great place to start.
Some people like to begin their day with a big dose of healthy freshness. For a look at how to create good-for-you smoothies at breakfast time, watch the short clip below and discover how to start your day off the right way.
The Healthy Book of Summertime Drinks: Recipes to Quench That Summertime Thirst
This enjoyable book offers a variety of healthy drinks to satisfy that unique summertime thirst. Using delicious ingredients like coconut water and fresh summer fruits, these quenching drinks will keep our body and mind at peak level. There is nothing better than returning home after being out in the scorching heat and finding a large glass of refreshing goodness staring you in the face! This versatile and interesting recipe book is packed with delicious, healthy drinks to keep you completely hydrated all summer long.
Who doesn’t love a great-tasting smoothie made with healthy ingredients? Smoothie-making, like juicing, has become a way of life for many people who just can’t seem to get enough of these tasty, frothy beverages. The Smoothie Recipe Book should be required reading for anyone who want to learn about the basics of making perfect smoothies for all occasions. Athletes, college students, older folks, and everyone else can learn much from this basic “textbook” on smoothie-making.
Juicing for Beginners: The Essential Guide to Juicing Recipes and Juicing for Weight Loss
Juicing is a category unto itself. For almost 50 years, ever since the early 1960s “health food” craze, hard-core “juicers” have been a staple in fitness clubs and workout gyms all over the U.S. For those who have a high-powered blender or a food processor, juicing can easily become a way of life, so don’t say we didn’t warn you!
“Juicing for Beginners,” offers all the tips, tricks and suggestions you’ll need to get started the right way. You’ll learn about equipment, ingredients, weight-loss recipes, standard juicing drinks, and much more. Some people are put off by the idea of juicing because they assume they need to purchase an expensive processor. That is definitely not true in 2017, though perhaps it was many years ago.
Today’s budget-priced processors and high-quality blenders can get the juicing job done. That way, even if you’ve never juiced before, you can follow the recipes in this book and drop some pounds the easy and fun way. If you don’t need to lose weight, juicing is still a very healthy practice to incorporate into your regular eating regimen.
What a perfect addition for any health-conscious person’s bookshelf! The smoothies listed include a wide range of nutrients based upon what most runners, weight-lifters, and gaming athletes seek out in a healthful beverage. Note that even though the book “only” lists 31 recipes, they’re all easily tweaked for endless variations. The so-called “fitness smoothie” drink craze is going strong in the U.S., especially in places where warm weather lasts for more than a few months, like California, Arizona and Nevada.
Do You Have Summer Drink Ideas!
If you have some of your own ideas about healthy summer drinks, please share them in the comments section below, or visit our Facebook page and tell us about it there. We always enjoy hearing from our readers, and look forward to sharing our “giant list” of cold-weather drink ideas when the seasons change.