Meg Makes: Combat summer's heat with these cool beverages

Meg Makes: Combat summer's heat with these cool beverages

When the weather gets really hot, I feel like special, summery beverages can make all the difference in one's attitude.

In our house, that means a pitcher of citrus lemonade in our fridge can make my day.

My husband created it after mixing lemon and lime juices with orange-blossom water that we had on hand after making some Lebanese baklava this winter.

The recipe is below, as is Champaign resident Laura Clower's recipe for blueberry-pomegranate zingers.

She created them as a mocktail for the under-21 crowd, but adults can enjoy them just as well, and they feature a peppery homemade ginger syrup.

A special summer beverage doesn't have to require a degree in mixology, though. Carol Timms of Champaign told me her favorite is mixing one part lemonade to one part orange juice.

That's special and summery enough for me.


Citrus Lemonade

6 1/2 cups water

1 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best, but I confess, sometimes we use bottled lemon juice. It saves so much time and stickiness and still tastes OK)

1/4 cup lime juice (same situation as above with fresh vs. bottled)

1/8 cup orange blossom water

3/4 cup sugar (you could substitute non-sugar sweetener, but make sure you follow the sweetener's instructions for how much is equivalent to the sugar called for here)

Mix all ingredients well and chill before serving. Makes a little more than 2 quarts.

Blueberry-Pomegranate Zingers

For cocktail:

3 jiggers POM blueberry-pomegranate juice

1 jigger ginger simple syrup

3 jiggers lemon-lime seltzer water

For ginger syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, optional

To make syrup, mix ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until mixture just starts to bubble.

Remove from heat, cover and let steep about 30 minutes. Strain into glass container with a lid (Laura uses Good Seasonings dressing bottles because the lids have a pour spout).

Store in the fridge. Lasts for at least a month.

To assemble zingers, stir ingredients together over ice in a large mixing glass.

Strain into two large glasses filled with ice.

Laura adds that you could turn these into real cocktails with the addition of 2 jiggers of vodka.

You could also try substituting sparkling wine for the seltzer and adding lemon juice or triple sec to replace the citrus note.

Meg Dickinson is a local communications professional who spends many of her waking hours daydreaming about food. To submit a recipe for her consideration, email her at

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