Cool Summer Drinks

summer drinks
photo credit: serezniy
Recipies for great summer drinks, with or without alcohol by

Drinks With Alcohol

Drink Basic Ingredients
Banana Daiquiri
Banana, rum, lime, maraschino liqueur
Bellini Peach puree, raspberry puree (or peach schnapps) and Champagne
Blood Orange Margarita  Sugar, triple sec, tequila and fresh blood orange juice.
Tom Collins Gin, lime, club soda, lemon juice
Red wine, fresh fruit, club soda, brandy
Pina Colada
Rum and pineapple juice
Tequila Sunrise
Lime, tequila, grenadine, creme de cassis
Singapore Sling
Tequila, grenadine, creme de cassis, sloe gin, cherry liqueur, gin, club soda
Tequila, triple sec, lime juice
Mojito Rum, mint leaves, syrup, bitters, club soda, lime
Mojito Martini Rum, mint leaves, lime
Pomegranate Margarita Tequila, lime, triple sec, pomegranate juice
PogWash - Pog Mai Tai
POG, rum, mai tai mix, pineapple
Cranberry, grapefruit, vodka
Kahlua, Baileys, Grand Marnier
Rum, ginger ale, orange juice
Coconut Milk Horchata Rice, water, coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar, rum
Cosmopolitan Vodka, cranberry, lime, and triple sec or Cointreau
Jell-O Shots Jell-O, vodka
Lemon Drop Cocktail Citron vodka, lemon juice and sugar

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Drink Basic Ingredients
Agua de Jamaica Jamaica (hibiscus flowers) sugar, water
Agua de Tamarindo Tamarind pods, water, sugar
Aguas Frescas Fresh fruit, water, sugar
Agua Preparado de Limon Rallado Lime zest, water and sugar (recipe below)
Licuado de Leche Fruit, milk, honey or sugar (recipe below)
Banana Nana Coconut cream, sweet and sour, lime syrup, banana
Tropical Frappe
Passion fruit juice, cream of coconut, pineapple chunks, banana
Mock Blood Orange Margarita Uses margarita mixer, lime juice and blood orange juice.
Mojito (nonalcoholic) Use fresh limes, lime sparkling water
Frozen Margarita (nonalcoholic) Uses non-alcoholic triple sec and Cuervo non-alcoholic Margarita mix.
Grape juice, soda, fresh fruit
Pina Colada. Pineapple juice, coconut cream
So-you-can-see-a Sunrise
Cranberry, orange juice, lemon juice, ginger ale
San Francisco Pineapple juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, sour mix, grenadine
Coconut Milk Horchata Rice, water, coconut milk, cinnamon, sugar
Virgin Mary Tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, lemon, cukecumber
Horchata Rice, almonds, cinnamon & lime

Licuado (Liquados)

A popular Mexican alternative to soft drinks the licuado combines fresh fruit and milk and honey or sugar then blended to a froth.  This is the Mexican equivalent to the "smoothie".  Here is a basic recipe:

Licuado de Leche
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or to taste
3/4 cup fresh fruit such as banana, cantaloupe, mango, papaya, strawberries, watermelon or guava.

Blend all ingredients in a blender until very smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds or fibrous bits.

Licuados are also made with water, Licuado con agua with a slightly higher concentration of liquid to fruit and normally sweeter.

Mexican chirmolera
The Clay chirmolera (grinder) shown above is used in Oaxaca for making agua preparado de limon, as well as other grinding tasks.

Agua Preparado de Limon Rallado

A complex sounding name for a very simple classic Oaxacan drink.  Just take 8 under-ripe dark green limes, zest them (perfect job for a Microplane Zester...).  Add the zest to a quart of water and steep for at least one hour.  Strain the mixture though cheesecloth or a fine sieve making sure to press on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Add sugar to taste (about 3/4 to one cup) chill and serve in tall glasses over ice. 
You can use the limeade to make margaritas or freeze the mixture in ice cube trays and pop into drinks.

This drink mixes well with vodka for a refreshing cocktail.

Buying Limes

Key limes are "true" limes and are commonly grown and used in Mexico.  Key limes are more flavorful and juicy than the common grocery store (Persian) lime.  For bargain prices, try your local Mexican market where these limes are normally sold for around 10 or 20 for a $1.00.


Lime Zest Knots

Choose a lime with an unblemished skin.  Use a lemon zesting tool (or a small sharp paring knife) and pare off a 2 to 3 inch strip of peel.  Be careful to avoid cutting into the white bitter pith. Tie the strip into a simple knot.  Place the knot on top of the pots de creme just prior to serving.  Knots can be made ahead of time and stored refrigerated in a tightly sealed plastic bag.

lime knot

See Stars

Make thin slices of fruit peelings from lemons, limes, mango and cut with a star-shaped cookie cutter.  Float the pieces on top of drinks or punch. Make ahead and store refrigerated in a zip-lock plastic bag.

fruit peel stars

Lemon Zesting Tool

This is a handy tool to use for making lemon zest for your drinks.  You can purchase this tool at most any kitchen shop or online at

lelmon or lime zest tool

Fun Fact about Cool Summer Drinks

Drink Stuff

Drink Measurement Conversions
1 dash = 6 drops
3 teaspoons = 1/2 ounce
1  pony - 1 ounce
1 jigger = 1 1/2 ounces
1 large jigger = 2 ounces
1 standard whiskey glass = 2 ounces
1 pint = 16 fluid ounces
1 fifth = 25.6 fluid ounces
1 quart = 32 fluid ounces

Frozen Drinks

View our Drinks Recipes for a large selection of Frozen Drinks from Watermelon Margaritas to Pink Slippers,

Aguas Frescas

These cool drinks are made with water, fruit and a sweetener (typically sugar) and are commonly served in Mexico by street vendors.  We also find them in many Mexican takeout restaurants. 

To make just take any ripe fruit (common flavors include pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, strawberry and papaya) blend till smooth, add water to thin to a light consistency and sweeten to taste with sugar. Depending on the fruit you may need to strain the mixture to remove any seeds or small bits, the drinks should be the consistency of water (thus the name).


liquor free drink guide
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Lime/Lemon Squeezers
Lemon presses - squeezers - juicers

It's the easiest way to juice limes or lemons!   It extracts only the juice and none of the pith like standard reamers do. This juicer makes quick work out juicing your limes for your summer drinks and is quite a bargain besides. At


What is commonly known as a martini seems to have been invented in California. The term was first published in a bartender's guide around 1888 and also referred to as "The Martine".

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.