Summer is about warm sunny days spent at the beach, park or in the garden and steamy nights full of fireflies and mosquitoes. Cold, refreshing drinks don’t only cool us down when we are overheated, but also replenish all of the much needed nutrients lost when we have been in the sunshine working all day. These drinks are both refreshing and nourishing. Replenish our depleted reserves, while also tasting amazing.
I published these recipes many years ago and I thought I would share again as it heats up and I'm in the kitchen concocting things to cool down and refresh.
Fizzy Kombucha Lavender Lemonade
Juice of 4 lemons
2 cups/475 mL kombucha (citrus is nice)
1/2 cups/118 mL lavender honey
1-2 cups/235-475 mL of water
Mix your fresh lemon juice and lavender honey in a small pitcher. Add the kombucha. Stir gently. If you plan to drink straight chilled with the kombucha, then add the water to taste. If you plan to pour over ice, you can leave a little more concentrated, drinking chilled no ice, you may want the higher water amount. Be sure to taste and add more water or honey as needed - depending on how big and juicy your lemons are and the flavour of your kombucha you may want to tweak just a bit to taste. If you are making a pitcher for a party or picnic, the best bet for optimum carbonation is to pre-make the lemon/honey/water base and keep it chilled, and then add the kombucha to the base blend right before serving!
Serve cold. A few lavender buds and a slice of lemon make a nice garnish.
To make lavender honey, gently warm your 1/2 cup/ 118 mL of honey (LOW - no boiling!) with 2 Tbsp of dried lavender buds added. Let sit for 20-30 minutes on *very low* heat and then strain. The honey will be infused with the lavender aroma and flavour.
Tip: Add your honey to the lemon mix when slightly warm so that it will stir in and not sink the bottom. Whisking while slowly pouring it in helps too.
Chia seeds are not only for cheesy ceramic sheep planters. It is a very nutrient rich seed, which has the interesting ability to swell and plump up on its mucilaginous outer layer while keeping a nice crunchy seed inside. Chia contains fibre, protein, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and so much more! Chia frescos are very common in certain parts of the world - a Mexican food cart with a large pitcher of lime chia fresco is a beautiful sight on a hot day. This is delicious, refreshing, and helps revitalize. And don’t worry, it is nutritious, but you won’t believe how good it tastes, even with the seeds in there!
2 cups/475 mL coconut water or plain filtered water
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 tsp honey
Mix your ingredients together, stir or shake well (a canning jar with a lid is a good container to use so you can just shake shake shake) and let sit 20 minutes or so for the chia to swell. Serve chilled with a wedge of lime.
Sipping vinegars, also known as shrubs or in some variations as a switchel, have been around for a long time. A few hundred years ago vinegar was used to preserve fruit for the off season and the resulting beverage was called a shrub. Switchel was another drink from that era, made from ginger, honey, vinegar, molasses, and water - also called haymaker's punch - and was often taken to the fields by farmworkers.
The ratio is basically 4:1. 4 parts honey/vinegar with 1 part herb. I measured by cup for this reason. With medicinals it is preferred to weigh not measure, but this is a beverage with some boost, so using cup measures will work just fine.
Bring to a boil on the stove top and reduce heat immediately, stirring. Simmer, covered, for 40-45 minutes or so. Let sit for 10 minutes off the heat.
Strain this into a large bowl through a few layers of damp cheesecloth. Don't squeeze it or you will end up with a cloudy liquid.
While the mix smells great, don't stick your nose in the pot because the vinegar will be a bit intense. And don't worry - the resulting drink doesn't taste like vinegar…you only get that strong aroma since you are simmering it on the stove!
You should end up with around 1.5 - 2 cups of liquid (herbs will absorb some, some will reduce in cooking process - so it can vary). Add fresh vinegar to get you to two cups if necessary. Mix it with equal quantity of raw honey. It should be 2 cups herb infused vinegar, 2 cups raw honey. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of molasses. Shake or stir very well - it will be completely separate when you pour the honey in at first (see below) - but if you shake or stir really well for a minute or more, it will combine. You may need to stir before each use.
You can store in your fridge for about 8 - 12 weeks or so.
To drink, add 1/4 cup sipping vinegar to a glass, fill with sparkling water, club soda, or seltzer. Try mixing a bit into your pitcher of iced tea. Mix with sparkling wine or champagne. Or, take as a tonic by sipping a tablespoon or so in a small shot or cordial glass. For kids, the best is 1/4 cup of your shrub in a glass with ice and sparkling or soda water.
Combining the concept of alcohol free tincture or oxymels with the day to day deliciousness of a shrub means you can have a tasty refreshing fizzy soda with the benefits of the herbs!
Other Cold Summer Recipes I Have Posted Previously:
Iced Hibiscus Tea
Juniper Sage Soda
Banana Maca Frozen Smoothie
This is the time of year where I want to use the herbs as I pick them as they smell so AMAZING, I want to make things that everyone loves and that don't take too much time, and that are cooling and delicious. If they can be poured into a popsicle mold and frozen as well, that is a bonus. While I do love a nice iced herbal sun tea, different drink mixes using the amazing variety of summer herbs keep it interesting!
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, permaculture designer, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.
©2007-23 Denise Cusack, all photos and text. Feel free to share my posts on FB or Twitter or online media or pin on Pinterest (thank you!), but please keep the links back to my website intact (meaning please do not take or copy my images off of this website and share them unattributed or without linking back here or use them without permission). Thank you! :)
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