Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Frosty Summer Drinks

Hello everyone, Cate here.

It's two weeks into my summer vacation from school, and I'm having a wonderful time with my writing! (Well, I am now that I think I've wrestled this plot into submission!)

But the danger of long, lazy summer days of writing is that I'm in close proximity to the kitchen and to the Keurig. It's so easy to fuel the writing with copious cups of coffee. And all those cups of coffee need something to go with them...

You see my dilemma?

Not such a terrible dilemma unless you want to be able to fit into your clothes after you spend the summer sitting around eating, drinking, and writing.


I decided I needed to find some better choices. Something tall and frosty to beat the heat and keep me happily sipping.

For a couple of years now I've noticed a sign outside out local coffee shop.

What exactly does basil lemonade taste like? I've wondered, but mind you, I've never actually wondered enough to go in and buy some.

Well, usually I have the dog when I see the sign, so I really can't go in.
Cue the cute doggy picture.

I think he may need the coffee that's giving me insomnia! (Just joking!)

So I searched basil lemonade recipes. Most required making a simple sugar syrup first, but I didn't really want something sweet. Vitamix has a recipe on their site for Frosty Basil Lemonade that sounded really simple (and looked really pretty). So I made that.

Time to PULSE!

I only did half of everything because I was testing. I also used coconut palm sugar instead of white sugar, so mine doesn't look such a pretty shade of summer green.

The verdict: A bit tart. Definitely tastes like basil. Strong taste of basil. If I made this again, I think I'd reduce the basil and maybe try maple syrup as a sweetener. If you really like basil, this might interest you.

But, tasty as it was, Basil Lemonade was not a threat to the coffee.


In a book I'm writing, my heroine's drink of choice is sangria tea. I decided to make a version of that. I have this cool ice tea container my eldest daughter gave me for Christmas. It makes iced tea super simple to brew.

(You can watch the 8 second video of the tea brewing :)  )

I boiled water and poured it in!  Note: I had hibiscus tea bags, but since this has a filter, I opened them and emptied in the loose tea. You could easily just brew a cup of hibiscus tea and then chill it.

Once the tea was cool, I mixed in some frozen slices of orange and grapefruit and a little of the lemon left over from the basil lemonade.

OH! Delicious!!!!!

But I wasn't done yet. I still had the Vitamix out, so I thought I'd give it a try. I dumped the tea and the rest of the frozen fruit in and in 30 seconds I had the most amazingly refreshing slushee type drink.

The grapefruit made it a bit tart, so I tried adding some blueberries to see what would happen. That did make it a bit sweeter. I think some frozen pineapple would have been amazing too.

I just threw some blueberries in first. Then I blended them in.

So there you have it - a drink to replace endless cups of coffee. I don't have an exact calorie count, but the tea has no calories so all you have is the calories from a couple of slices of orange and grapefruit.

Here's the thing. I have some peaches and tons of blueberries, and I bought ice cream today with the intention of roasting the peaches and blueberries briefly and pouring them over the ice cream.

But by the time I got finished sampling my hibiscus fruit slushee, I didn't even want the ice cream. So a good treat and I get to feel virtuous as well. WIN WIN!

Next week, my healthy version of iced coconut mocha. YUM!

And in case the drinks don't cool you enough, when I was loading pictures, I came across this one from January. 
It turns out this storm produced record snowfall in NYC! But it was a weekend so we didn't even get a snow day out of it!


  1. It's lonely here in the cafe this morning. I think I may have to put some drinks on sale, drag in some customers off the street!

  2. If you keep Fenway snoozing in a corner people will come in for the bliss of watching a relaxed puppy beat the heat. Such a gorgeous dog.

    You've made me terribly thirsty. It's hot and humid today and I need some grocery basics so even though I went to the store at seven this morning it was 31 and humid. Now it feels like 41 with the humidity. ugh. All I've been doing is drinking water since I got back.

    Everything looks refreshing -- I think you should make something peachy next. I mixed up some fresh local strawberries and ice cubes and let them whir around in my mini blender and had a lovely cool slushy. Not exactly calorie free but close enough. The berries are so sweet there's no need for sugar.

    Happy writing! -- Oh and I'm not sure about the basil lemonade but a coffee shop here has lavender lemonade and it is pretty fantastic. But expensive. And caloric.

  3. UGH - my response to you got lost, Kav. :(

    1. So, Kav, what I was trying to say earlier was that I have a peach tea that I love and I was thinking of making that and adding slices of frozen peaches. I wonder if that would be too much peach flavor. I could add some blueberries.

      I have a strawberry recipe coming up.

      I've seen lavender tea, but I'm not sure I've ever seen lavender lemonade.

    2. There is no such thing as too much peach flavor. Sigh, can't wait til we get fresh ones in August.

    3. Our fresh ones just started to show up at the farmer's market.

  4. Iced tea is a wonderful summertime refresher! I love these variations. :)

    My oldest son and his fiancee (isn't that grand? "his fiancee") bought a tea infuser and a couple teas from a new store in town, and I'm loving them. The mint tea is so refreshing as iced tea that I have even opened the other flavor they included!

    The weather over the next couple days is barely iced tea weather, though. Highs in the mid-70's and lows in the mid-50's. Perfect. Just perfect!

    1. That sounds like lovely weather, Jan. We've had a beautiful spell but it's due to break with 90+ tomorrow.

      Do you know what kind of infuser they bought? This one is called T2 and it also came with a mint blend. I haven't tried that one yet.

  5. Jan, I love that kind of weather... And Cate, this is so much fun! You do need to change things up now and again, and I love these ideas... we're in the thick of a heat wave and it's a little cray/cray around here, but we're hanging in there. Although kids are not exactly cheerful in 95 degrees and muggy.

    Thanks for this, and I'm not sure what an infuser is, but I expect it's fancier than my box of Bigelow on the counter, right?


    Summer and sweet tea... a match made in heaven!