End-of-summer sips

These cool and refreshing summer drinks are perfect for sitting outside in the shade, enjoying a lazy breeze. Using both traditional and not-so-traditional ingredients, these “mocktails” — cocktails without alcohol — are more interesting than your everyday lemonade or iced tea. We’re providing two recipes to get you started, but you can also mix and match ingredients to create your own signature mocktail. Just combine a base liquid with fresh seasonal fruit and an accent flavor (or two). Share your own favorite summer mocktails in the comments below.

Bases: Seltzer Iced tea (black, green, flavored, etc.) Coconut water Lemonade or limeade

Seasonal fruits: Melon or watermelon Berries (blueberries, blackberries or raspberries) Stone fruit (peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines) Fig Cucumber Tomato

Accent flavors: Citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) Balsamic vinegar (a little goes a long way) Herbs or spices (lavender, ginger, basil, rosemary, turmeric, mint, rosemary) Simple syrup or honey syrup (Use one of the herbs or spices to flavor your syrup — see note below. If you want to be adventurous, you can make a spicy syrup by infusing your simple or honey syrup with jalapenos.)  

Servings: 4 8-ounce servings (for both recipes)

Ingredients

Late summer iced Earl Grey with fig honey

  • Earl Grey tea (4 tea bags, plus 3 cups of water) 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 2 figs, cut in quarters 
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed (Optional: Save one slice from the middle of the grapefruit for garnish) 
  • 2 small yellow nectarines, diced 
  • Ice

Blackberry lavender spritzer

  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried lavender flowers 
  • 1 pint blackberries, divided 
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 1/2 cups plain, unflavored seltzer or sparkling water 
  • Ice

Directions

Late summer iced Earl Grey with fig honey

  1. Make strong tea. Steep 4 tea bags in 3 cups of water for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.
  2. Make fig honey syrup (see note below for honey syrup directions) with the water, honey and figs. Let cool and steep for 30 to 60 minutes. Remove fig pieces.
  3. Combine tea, grapefruit juice and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the honey syrup (to taste) in a pitcher. Stir well. Add diced nectarines and ice, as desired. The remaining honey syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  4. Optional: Cut grapefruit slice into 4 wedges. Garnish each glass with one grapefruit wedge.
  5. Serve well chilled. 

Blackberry lavender spritzer

  1. Make lavender simple syrup (see note below for simple syrup directions) with the water, sugar and lavender. Let cool and steep for 30 to 60 minutes. Strain to remove lavender.
  2. Pick out 12 nice-looking blackberries and set aside. Put the remaining blackberries in a bowl with the lime juice. Muddle the berries until they’ve released most of their liquid. Strain to remove the seeds.
  3. Add strained blackberry mixture and balsamic vinegar to a pitcher. Add simple syrup 1 tablespoon at a time until desired sweetness is achieved, then add seltzer or sparkling water. Stir carefully. You can refrigerate at this point, or serve.
  4. To serve, add ice and 3 blackberries to each glass. Pour the blackberry lavender spritzer over the ice and blackberries. 

NOTE: To make simple or honey syrup, add equal amounts sweetener and water to a heavy pot or sauce pan on the stove. If making a flavored syrup, add herbs or fruit (citrus zests also work well). Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until sugar is dissolved or honey has melted and the mixture is just under a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before straining to remove anything you’ve added to flavor your syrup.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

Iced Earl Grey with fig honey (per cup, using 1 tablespoon of syrup)

  • Calories: 80
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 10 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 19 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 1 g

Blackberry lavender spritzer (per cup, using 1 tablespoon of syrup)

  • Calories: 60
  • Total fat: 0 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 10 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 16 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 5 g
  • Protein: 0 g

Contributor

Executive Chef