Summer is all about escape—escape from the heat, escape from the doldrums of nine-to-five, escape from the restrictions of a long winter.

Senses reach overload: the smells of cut grass and barbecue smoke and the caressing nature of a lingering breeze that comforts and cools just enough to make the day bearable.

Nothing defines summer like the shade of an aged oak tree, beneath which lays the napping stranger who has nowhere to go, and every means to get there. Time slows, and the little things in life take precedence.

With summer, heat rides high; and the late afternoon social hour shifts outside for talks around the glowing coals of the family barbecue, while the sizzling grill-top delights provide the soundtrack to the evening.

Moisture trickles delicately down the sides of summer glassware—filled with ice and bubbles, and the seasonal fruits that fit the mood. Sweet relief.

Enjoy these refreshingly cool and simple drink recipes to help beat the heat this summer.

Summer Drinks

White Wine Sangria: An invigorating blend of classic summer delights, sure to please the pallet of any summertime dinner guest.

Ingredients. 1 pint of strawberries, hulled and halved lengthwise; 2 oranges, sliced into ¼-inch-thich rings; 2 lemons, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rings; 3 peaches, pitted and cut into 8 wedges, 3 bottles of white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay; 1 liter of sparkling water; ice.

Directions. In a large bowl or pitcher, add the fruit, wine, and allow to sit at room temperature for 4 to 24 hours. When you are ready to serve, add the sparkling water and ice. Serve in a punch bowl with a ladle, and be sure there is fruit in each serving. Serves: 20

June Bugg: A crisp, bubbly, liberating libation of citrus and summer fun.

Ingredients. 3 cups of ginger ale; 4 tablespoons grenadine; 4 tablespoons; 3 scoops of orange sherbet; 6 oz white rum; maraschino cherries, ice.

Directions. In a blender, combine the ginger ale, grenadine, orange juice, rum, and sherbet. Blend until smooth, and pout into ice-filled cocktail glasses. Garnish with a maraschino cherry. Serves: 3

Summer Breeze: A sweet surprise to cool-off with on a spicy summer afternoon.

Ingredients. 1/3 cup of fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish; 2 teaspoons of sugar; 1½ cups of store-bought peach juice; 12 oz of club soda; ½ cup of bourbon; crushed ice, for serving.

Directions. In a bowl or pitcher, combine the mint and sugar. Mash leaves with a wooden spoon until bruised. Stir in the peach juice, club soda, and bourbon. Serve in a cocktail glass over crushed ice, and garnish with a mint sprig. Serves: 3

Watermelon Cooler: A lip-puckering treat to remind you of all pleasures summer has to offer.

Ingredients. 3 cups of chopped seeded watermelon; ¾ cups of sugar; 2 cups of white grape juice; 1 teaspoon of finely shredded lime peel; ¾ cup of fresh lime juice, chilled; 4 cups of club soda, chilled; fresh mint leaves; watermelon balls for garnish; ice.

Directions. Place the chopped seeded watermelon into a blender, cover and blend until smooth. Strain watermelon puree through a fine mesh sieve and discard the pulp. In a separate large bowl, combine the sugar and mint. With a wooden spoon, crush the mint against the side of the bowl. Add the grape juice, lime peel, lime juice, and watermelon puree, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and stir in the club soda. Serve in cocktail glasses over ice, and garnish with leftover mint leaves and watermelon balls. Serves 9.

Honey Badger: A summer sensation with just enough sweetness to hold on to the day.

Ingredients. 6 cups of cubed honeydew melon; 1/3 cup of sugar; ¼ cup of fresh lime juice; lime peels for garnish.

Directions. In a blender, puree the 6 cups of honeydew melon. Pour the puree through a fine sieve small dish. Place the ½ cup of water and sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the water from the heat, and stir it in with the puree. Add the fresh lime juice, stir to combine, cover and freeze. Spoon the frozen melon-mix into 6 glasses and add ½ cup of seltzer into each glass. Garnish with the lime peels. Serves 6.

Seaside Zephyr: The summer getaway you don’t have to leave home for.

Ingredients. 3 large mint leaves, minced; 1 teaspoon of sugar; 1 cup of pineapple juice; 1 tablespoon of pomegranate juice.

Directions. Place the mint and sugar into a tall glass and mash them together to muddle. Stir in the pineapple juice, and add enough ice to fill the glass. Add the pomegranate juice, but do not stir. Serves 1.

Summer should be spent relaxing, spending time with friends and family, barbequing, and sipping on the finer side of life. Ignore the pressures of a hot summer day, and succumb to the tranquil call of refreshment and flavor—a sweet surrender any fan of summer can enjoy.

This post was contributed by Bryan Furgison. Bryan is food enthusiast with several years’ experience in the food industry via culinary art and restaurant management. He is an online publisher for the commercial refrigeration retailer Coldtech Commercial, which specializes in prep tables, restaurant supply, commercial appliances.

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