Refreshing Drinks for Hot Summer Days

Chef Darin SehnertDrinks, Entertaining, Recipes3 Comments

Pineapple Orange Sangria -CThe summer heat calls for something cold and thirst quenching.  My typical summer go-to for everyday summer refreshment is good ol’ plain sun tea – preferably unsweetened.

Summer entertaining however typically calls for something a little more festive whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic.  For my basic sun tea I like to add an unexpected bit of flavor by including a couple of mint tea bags with the regular black tea.  It doesn’t look any different but the first taste reveals a light fresh minty flavor that slowly lingers on the palate.

Later today I’ll be doing a segment on our CBS affiliate here in Savannah, WTOC and their show Mid-Morning Live.  I’ll be focusing on light summer drinks and hors d’ oeuvres that are quick and easy to make.   So…If the dog days of summer have you craving something cold and you want to try something new, here are four new options:

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Pineapple Mint Tea
This delicious and flavorful tea used to be served as part of my Low Country Cooking Classes that I do here in Savannah.  Guests were frequently surprised at it’s fruity juicy flavor without being too sweet.  It is a perfect beverage for a hot summer day.

12 Servings
1 quart water
1 cup sugar
5 spearmint tea bags (Bigelow’s “Plantation Mint” is available in most grocery stores)
1 quart cold water
1 quart pineapple juice (preferably Dole brand)

In a 4-quart saucepan combine the water and sugar. Place on stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to help dissolve sugar and then turn off heat and add tea bags. Let tea steep and infuse for at least 20-30 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeezing gently. Stir in cold water and pineapple juice.  Refrigerate until chilled.  Serve over ice, garnish with fresh mint and a pineapple wedge if desired.

Savannah Summer Sipper
This delicious and flavorful rum spiked tea is perfect for sipping on a hot summer’s day beneath the Spanish moss draped oaks of Savannah!

Prepare recipe as directed above but finish by adding 1 cup of dark rum to the entire pitcher or 1 oz. per glass to top off

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Pineapple-Orange Sangria
This white wine based sangria is adapted from a recipe in a recent issue of “Fine Cooking” magazine.  Offering a change of pace from traditional red sangria, it offers up delicious aromas and flavors to tantalize the tastebuds with a tropical note! Frozen peach slices in the glasses act as fruity ice cubes to help keep the drink cold and provide a fruity snack when the sangria is gone.

Yield: 8-10 Servings
1 750-ml. bottle Pinot Grigio or Dry Riesling
1/2 cup (4 oz) Peach vodka
1/2 cup Malibu Pineapple Liqueur
¾ cup (6oz) canned Pineapple Juice (preferably Dole brand)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 small navel orange, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup bite-size pieces fresh pineapple
1 cup frozen peach slices
Club soda, chilled
Ice Cubes, optional

In a 2 ½-3-quart pitcher, stir the wine, vodka, pineapple juice, and sugar until well mixed and sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

When ready to serve, place a frozen peach slice in each glass and fill half-way with sangria. Add a splash of club soda and serve.

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Spicy Rum Fizz
Like a mintless mojito that’s been spiked with a background note if spicy heat.  I was introduced to this cocktail by my friend Martha Hopkins who is co-author of The New InterCourses: an aphrodisiac cookbook.  She has been my guest here in Savannah for several years running when we do aphrodisiac cooking classes together.   Unfortunately that time if year is her one of her busiest most in-demand periods and she’s usually traveling and away from her beau.  This past February she finally got to enjoy Valentine’s Day with her own valentine when her boyfriend John was able to travel with her.  He treated us to this spicy number which was most likely influenced by his own spicy number….Martha!

Yield: 1 Cocktail

1.5 oz. White rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
.75 oz. light agave syrup
3-4 thin slices of jalapeno pepper (adjust according to level of heat desired)
1.5 oz. Club Soda

Reserve one of the jalapeno slices as a garnish for the glass.
Place other slices of jalapeno into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Add the rum, lime juice and agave syrup.  Shake vigorously to bruise and crush the pepper slices.  Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and top off with the club soda.  Garnish with reserved jalapeno slice.

Note:  This can be scaled up and mixed in a pitcher for easier serving to a large group.  In that case, instead of shaking to bruise the jalapeno it would be better to use the back-edge (spine) of a knife to beat and bruise the pepper slices and infuse into the rum ahead of time for a few minutes.

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3 Comments on “Refreshing Drinks for Hot Summer Days”

  1. Arij

    I’ve been wanting to try maknig Sangria I love wine & fruit! I love eating peaches infused with white wine. You make it look easy .I guess it’s a bit of whatever you want with a wine/fruit juice base? Just found your blog & am now following! Found you via Stumble!!

    1. chefdarin

      Red sangria is the traditional version. It’s usually infused with citrus zest and is bolstered with Brandy (preferably Spanish). However, as you’ve noticed, you can easily concoct your own version based on your own inspiration. Typically Sangria has not only wine but another form of alcohol such as brandy, port wine, or another liquer. The fruit garnish is is up to you as well.

      I’m glad you found the blog and are following. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with and be sure to share your inspiration for Sangria, maybe you’ll come up with a new favorite!

  2. Shannon

    Hello! Still thinking about the fabulous food and fun time we had during your cooking class last weekend! Would you mind sharing the recipe for the rum punch? It was the only recipe not included in the recipe card pack. Thanks so much! Can’t wait to get back to Savannah to enjoy another class!

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