Slaking Your Thirst in Style

During the dog days of August, thirst is a more compelling need than hunger.

During the dog days of August, thirst is a more compelling need than hunger.
I always drink more than the requisite eight glasses of water a day, but after a while it becomes monotonous. I am not a soda drinker, and while wine, beer and cocktails are certainly appealing, consuming them in vast quantities throughout the day is ill-advised for a variety of reasons.
So I’ve created some interesting, low(ish)-calorie beverages to stay cool and refreshed in the heat. And if it’s after 5 p.m., or you’re on vacation or it is a particularly trying day, feel free to spike these elixirs with the spirit of your choice — vodka, rum, tequila or gin work well with all of them. One part booze and two parts mixer is the rule of thumb.
Herbed Limeade
The rosemary sprig gives this drink a dramatic visual flair while infusing a lovely herbal essence. The limeade is also wonderful with muddled cilantro or mint in place of the rosemary.
1 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
1½ cups fresh lime juice
8 cups cold water
Sliced limes and rosemary sprigs for garnish
Make simple syrup: In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and warm water. Heat until the sugar dissolves, and set aside to cool.
Squeeze the limes into a large pitcher. Add the cold water and simple syrup. Stir to blend. Pour over ice and garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of rosemary.
Makes 2 quarts
Zinger Tea
4 bags of your favorite herbal tea (I use the fruit zingers from Celestial Seasoning)
4 cups boiling water
¼ cup honey
Garnishes of your choice: fresh berries, orange slices, watermelon chunks, mint leaves
Place the tea bags in a teapot and pour boiling water over them. Allow it to steep for five minutes.
Pour the tea into a pitcher and stir in the honey. When slightly cooled, add one cup of ice to bring the temperature down, and then pour over ice in glasses to serve. Garnish as desired.
Makes 1 quart
Arnold Palmer
This drink is named, obviously, for the legendary golfer.
The story goes that he and his wife usually had iced tea with their lunch. One day, Arnie asked the missus to put a splash of lemonade in his tea, just for something different. He liked it; he played with the concentration and began to drink it regularly, ordering them after his round of 18 holes.
One day, he asked a bartender to make him a drink that was two-thirds iced tea and one-third lemonade. A woman at the end of the bar overheard the order, and said, “I want an Arnold Palmer; I want what he ordered.” The name stuck, and the drink spread like wildfire. Arizona Beverage Co. bought the rights to the drink, and its 2010 sales exceeded $100 million.
Arnold Palmer (the man, not the drink) is adamant about the proportion: “Iced tea should dominate the drink and, if it doesn’t, it’s not really right.” I share with you my version of the Arnold Palmer using homemade lemonade and best-quality brewed tea.
4 tea bags (I use PG Tips, but any brand of plain black tea is fine)
6 cups boiling water
½ cup sugar
½ cup warm water
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups cold water
Make simple syrup: In a small saucepan, mix sugar and warm water. Heat until the sugar dissolves, and set aside to cool.
Make the tea: Pour boiling water over tea bags in a teapot and allow it to steep for four minutes.
Squeeze the lemons into a large pitcher. Add the cold water and simple syrup. Stir to blend. Add the tea and stir. Serve over ice with lemon wedges.
Makes 2 ½ quarts
My friend recently traveled to Spain with her family and fell in love with sangria. She brought the recipe home, and now makes a killer pitcher to serve guests in her garden.
Her young son, justifiably tempted by the colorful concoction, requested a version that was kid-friendly for him and his buddies to enjoy after a sweaty game of basketball. Mom complied, and now she makes this low-octane version for youngsters and non-drinkers when she hosts.
2½ cups juice (your favorite blend of any or all of the following: orange/pome- granate/grape/cranberry/apple/lemon/lime/watermelon/berry)
½ teaspoon citrus zest (lemon/orange/lime)
5 mint leaves
2½ cups “fizz” — sparkling water, club soda, sparkling cider or sparkling grape juice
1 cup assorted bite-sized pieces of fresh fruit, additional mint leaves
Place the juice mixture into a pitcher.
Add the zest and mint. Crush the mint on the bottom of the pitcher with the back of a spoon to release its flavor.
Add the fizz and stir.
Top with the fresh fruit and mint leaves, then serve in tall glasses over ice.
Makes 5 cups 



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