The days are getting shorter, but we’re still sweltering across the country (although living in San Diego, we have to admit we have it a lot easier than everyone else!). The end of summer is quickly approaching, and everyone is searching for ways to chill out and cool down. We’ve put together a couple end of summer party drink ideas (strictly virgin!) fit for overheated crowds from Nevada to New Orleans.
Our first summer party drink idea is an oldie but goodie – lemonade! We don’t mean that store-bought concentrate junk, either. You’ve gotta do homemade to do it right.
Use: 2 parts filtered water, 1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice (probably from 8-10 lemons), and 1 part simple syrup (around 1 ½ cups of sugar dissolved in boiling water that creates a sticky, thick substance). To zass things up a bit, add an equal amount of iced tea for a Southern favorite, the Arnold Palmer, or substitute limes for lemons! You Are My Fave also has some awesome make-your-own-ice ideas that just add that much more punch.
Our second summer party drink idea is from Seattle’s Spur restaurant. Their signature Cucumber-Mint-Basil soda is a crowd favorite, and if you’re hosting a backyard party, this is the drink to impress your guests.
Use: 1 1/2 cups simple Syrup, 1/2 large cucumber (thinly sliced crosswise plus a few extra slices for garnish), a large handful of fresh mint leaves, about half the amount of fresh basil leaves as mint, and 6 cups of soda water. Boil the simple syrup in a saucepan, then remove pan from heat and add cucumber slices (leaving some for the garnish), mint leaves, and basil. Cover and let it sit for around a half hour, then strain the infused syrup into a jar, pressing on solids in strainer. Fill a glass with ice cubes, add 2 Tbsp. syrup and top with soda water (about 1/2 cup). Stir, garnish with cucumber and mint, and enjoy!
Our final end of summer party drink idea comes straight from our southern neighbors in Mexico. Aqua Frescas can be found all over the country in the heat and are sure to quench your thirst in a big way. Whole Foods has an awesomely easy recipe for a Watermelon Aqua Fresca here, and we’ve replicated it below for an easy experiment!
6 pounds seedless watermelon cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups cold water divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
Lime slices and mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Cut the watermelon flesh from the rind. In a blender, process half the watermelon pieces with 1 cup of water until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher. Repeat the process with the remaining melon and water. You should end up with about 8 cups of juice. Stir in the lime juice and agave. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with lime slices and mint. (from Whole Foods Market)
These summer party drink ideas can be taken on the road too – Design Sponge has a great collection of bike picnic must-haves for those who live to cycle. We’re partial to a good front porch hangout, or backyard BBQ, but it’s hard to find anything to not love about a good old-fashioned ride.
No matter what sort of celebration you have planned to hail in autumn, be sure to try at least one of our summer party drink ideas to avoid getting stuck in the soda rut. Your guests will thank you!