Whether your hot because you live in the hot and humid South or because you’ve been outside boating, playing baseball, and generally living it up for summer, a good drink is going to be on your mind.
Sure an ice cold Coke or beer is going to hit the spot right after that big game or for dinner of fried fish, hush puppies, and fries…but getting enough canned drinks for a crowd can be expensive and then you have half open cans all over the place and there’s always that one person who doesn’t do caffeine or alcohol.
Cheap and easy drink are easy to come by in the summer. For your next get together, offer Sweet Tea, Kool-Aid or Lemonade, and filtered ice water in cute pitchers. Variety is key and nostalgia will keep people coming back for more.
JEN’S EASY PARTY TIP: Even if you buy a gallon of tea, a 2 liter bottle of lemonade, and a gallon of filtered water from the store, pour part of each of the drinks into a pitcher and chill. Even cheaper, plastic pitchers are better for most get togethers than setting out the original bottles. (I am also one of those people who buy frozen pies and put them on a pie plate…presentation is half the battle!)
For 2 quarts:
4+ small bags or 2+ Family size tea bags
Sugar to taste
cold water and ice
We’re not talking Sweetened Iced Tea here, people. We’re talking Southern-style Sweet Tea that your serve in Tea Glasses filled 2/3 to the top with ice. McDonald’s, Arby’s, and Popeye’s all make pretty authentic Sweet Teas. So if you’re unfamiliar with this beverage, 99 cents will get you pretty good taste test.
Do you have a Mr. Coffee Tea Maker? If so, you’re set. If not, you can also brew tea in the sun, with a regular coffee pot (washed well so that your tea does not taste of old coffee), on the stove, or in the microwave.
Jen’s Microwave Sweet Tea: In large microwave-proof bowl, add 4 or so cups of cold water and lay your tea bags around the edge of the bowl. Microwave for 8 minutes on high, turning bowl 1/2 turn after 4 minutes. Remove from microwave and let sit for 3-5 minutes. In a pitcher, add your sugar (or sugar substitute), then the liquid in the bowl. Make sure you hold back the tea bags so that they don’t fly into your pitcher. Fill your pitcher to the top with cold water.
Jen’s Personal Tea Recipe: 7 small or 4 family size Lipton Tea bags, 1.5 – 2 cups sugar (or Sugar substitute), cold water to fill pitcher. This recipe makes me 2-3 quarts of strong, very sweet tea.
- Tea and Lemonade Half and Half
- Light (vs strong) tea with infusions of herbs (mint is fabulous)
- Light tea with light infusions of fruit and/or fruit juice — ever squeezed a lemon into your tea? try blueberries, strawberries, peach, even kiwi
Got your own Sweet Tea recipe? Blog all about it below.
Easy Sparkling Raspberry Lemonade
- 1 (12 ounces) can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate
- 3 cups water
- 3/4 teaspoon lime juice
- 1.5 – 2 cans lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
- 1 cup crushed ice
- 1 cup fresh raspberries, garnish
In a large punch bowl, combine raspberry lemonade concentrate, water and lime juice. Stir in lemon-lime soda and crushed ice. Garnish each glass with a fresh raspberry and a mint leaf.
- Can’t find Raspberry Lemonade concentrate? Double the recipe and use a 12 ounce can of frozen lemonade and a 12 ounce can of Raspberry (or rasberry mixed) concentrates. OR use a fruit juice and lemonade combo, like cran-raspberry and lemonade or white grape/raspberry and lemonade
- Feel free to use sparkling water or Ginger Ale instead of water and lemon-lime soda. OR for an Adults Only party, substitute in some Hard Lemonade, Vodka, or other favorite alcohol for one of the ingredients.
- Like it sweet and tart? Add some fresh lemon juice and a teaspoon or so of sugar!
- Mint is a fun and fabulous summer garnish. Don’t forget to garnish with raspberries, lemons, mint, etc. Don’t have time to garnish each glass? Garnish the pitcher/punch bowl
Keeping it Cold
Sure, ice keeps drinks super cold for those long, hot summer days…but it’s not the only thing. Read on below for some ideas for keeping your summer drinks chilled and keeping your guests guessing.
- Use frozen fruit. Fruit is a beautiful (and tasty) garnish. Add a few frozen raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries to any drink. For example, if you were had some regular lemonade on hand, you could add chilled lemons rings and frozen strawberries. You’ve just taken your everyday lemonade to Get Together level
- Make ice out of whatever you are drinking. I love ice but I don’t love having a watered down drink. Just pour a little of your tea, kool-aid, lemonade, etc into an ice tray. For fun, add pieces of fruit or mint sprigs to the center of each ice cube.
- Make ice out of something else you like to drink. Remember how we mentioned a Tea and lemonade half and half drink and Sweet Tea with infusions of juices? Try this with different flavored ices instead (i.e. lemonade, white peach juice, raspberry). As the ice melts, your drink takes on a whole new attitude.
- Freeze your whole drink. You know you’ve seen this at weddings. If you are using a punch bowl, feel free to make an ice ring out of your drink. It’s easy, it’s cold, and it won’t get watered down as it melts.
Share your own Summer Drink ideas below!