Summer is a great time of year for Barbecues and getting together with family and friends. One of the traditional days for all of this is the 4th of July! So in the spirit of getting together to celebrate our nation’s independence, I have compiled a list of great drink recipes to share!
For the whole family:
Cucumber Nasturtium Lemonade
2 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
The juice of 4 large lemons
The juice of 3 limes
½ teaspoon fresh dill
4 young nasturtium leaves, chopped fine
½ cup agave syrup
1 ½ cups chilled club soda
Fresh nasturtium flowers for garnishing
Add cucumbers, lemon and lime juices, dill, and nasturtium leaves in food processor or blender and blend until mostly liquid. Add in the agave syrup and blend well. Mix in (don’t blend) flowers and ice, then add the club soda. Makes 6 servings.
Watermelon Berry Punch
3 teaspoons dried basil or tulsi (holy basil) leaves
¼ cup water
¼ cup honey
8 cups (1 lb) watermelon, diced and all the seeds removed
¼ cup cranberry juice
¼ cup fresh basil or tulsi leaves
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 ¼ cups chilled club soda
In a saucepan, combine dried basil leaves and water. Simmer and stir, over low heat, about 10 minutes. Strain and honey. Simmer and stir again, this time for about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. While waiting for syrup to cool, blend the watermelon until smooth. Strain out the liquid, pressing firmly on the pulp to get as much juice out as possible. Discard the pulp. In a large pitcher, combine the syrup, fresh basil leaves, berries, and cranberry juice. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle (smash) the berries and basil. Add the watermelon juice and club soda. Pour over ice and refrigerate for 2 hours. Makes 8 servings.
1 medium sized honeydew melon, seeded and diced
2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 ½ cups fresh lemon juice
½ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon matcha green tea powder
In a food processor or blender, combine the melon and mint leaves. Blend until chunky. Add all other ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve over ice. Makes 2 ½ quarts.
Lavender Iced Tea
8 ¼ cups water
8 teaspoons good quality, loose leaf, black tea (Darjeeling is my favorite)
1 teaspoon dried lavender
¼ cup sugar
Bring 8 cups water to a boil and remove from heat. Add in tea and lavender and let steep, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain and let cool. Meanwhile, combine sugar and ¼ cup water in saucepan and heat until sugar is dissolved. Combine with tea and serve over ice. Makes 6-8 servings.
For just the adults:
Cucumber Mint Rickey
6 ounces good quality gin (Hendricks or Magellan are my preference)
2 limes, cut in quarters
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
3 teaspoons agave nectar
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
1 ½ cups chilled club soda
In a pitcher, add the cucumber, mint, agave, and limes. Muddle together using a wooden spoon. Add the gin, ice, and club soda. Stir well. Makes about 4 servings.
Grilled Pineapple and Starfruit Sangria
3 cups pineapple pieces
2 starfruits sliced
2 750-milliliter bottles of red wine
8 ounces agave nectar
8 ounces brandy
Grill the fruit over high heat on a hardwood charcoal fire. The pineapple pieces can be grilled using a perforated grill sheet or a grill basket. Periodically toss/flip the fruit while cooking for 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In a large pitcher, combine the brandy, wine, grilled fruit, and agave nectar. Chill for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight (8 hours). Serve over ice. Makes 6-8 servings.