Warmer temps are upon us and that means picnics, baseball games, neighborhood block parties, street festivals, hanging out at the beach, dining outside…
For some, this also means it’s the season for rosé and margaritas and ice-cold beer. Yes, summer can be a veritable smorgasbord of sweet and boozy sippers, and we can have them readily available on ice, frozen, even served in "bottomless" quantities (gulp)!
Enjoying indulgent summer drinks can be a lovely bonus to good weather and good times, but are there non-alcoholic cold beverages that can feel similarly delicious and celebratory? Ones that provide more hydration, less calories and sugar, and even have health benefits?
This is what we asked the TruFit trainer crew and here were their three favorite go-tos:
1) ICED TEA
Walking through the tea isle at the grocery store is like walking through a rainbow of flavor options. You've got your Earl Greys and Oolongs AND you've got Sugar Cookie and Black Cherry Berry. The options are endless and creativity with your iced tea flavors can leave you feeling like a little kid!
Trainer Megan's favorite: Making her own blend by taking black tea bags and raspberry tea bags and brewing them together! Boil some water and steep 2 bags of each flavor for at least five minutes; the longer the steep, the stronger the taste. It's OK to get a strong, punchy flavor if you plan on serving the tea over ice!
Kombucha has been around a long time (according to Wikipedia that means anywhere from 200-2,000 years) but has taken over the local market in recent years! The pros:
HEALTH BENEFITS. "It's fermented," explains Evanston's own Chiropractic First owner Dr. Meggie Smith. "So you get all of the microbiome benefits of fermented foods which can be good for GI, skin, digestion, etc."
FIZZY & COMPLEX. Thanks to its fermentation giving it some fizziness, it can feel like you're enjoying something close to a soda or beer (and, yes, I did say fermentation and, yes, kombucha does have a tiny amount of alcohol content but it's usually closer to 0.5% vs around the 6ish% found in craft beer, which is why anyone can buy it at the store).
Note: Dr. Meggie says kombucha helped her kick her 20-year soda addiction!
FUN FLAVORS. Since it IS so popular, many kombucha makers are coming out with lots of different flavors to distinguish themselves. Local Evanston family-owned Kombucha Brava has flavors like Vanilla Pepper and Apple Carrot Ginger! Trainer Kathryn loves Cardamom Mint for its light and refreshing flavor as well as the Lemon Ginger flavor.
If you live in Evanston, you can check out Kombucha Brava at its own tasting room as well as the Evanston Farmer's Market, to name a couple spots!
3) INFUSED WATER
Bottle and canned water companies have tried REALLY hard to make water more exciting, but let's face it: Sometimes we still need to intervene to help us get those 8 glasses every day.
Just like brewing your own flavor of iced tea, creativity is your only limiting factor when coming up with what to slice up and put into your water!
So grab a few of the following ingredients and get hydrated!:
- Cucumber and mint
- Jalapeno and strawberry
- Orange and a cinnamon stick
- Blueberry and basil
Marketing coordinator Allison's current fav (pictured above): Fruity La Croix Spritz
The Power of Fun Glassware
Sometimes the easiest way to dress up a beverage (and any food for that matter) is to put it in a fun, attractive container! Serving up your non-alcoholic beverages in special glassware can make it more, well...special! Try sipping one of our three favorite non-alcoholic summer drinks in a crystal tumbler, wine glass, or quaint decorative juice glass to add instant flair.
We hope these summer beverage ideas help jog your own drink creativity and experimentation! What are some of YOUR go-to non-alcoholic and low-cal drinks for summer? We'd love to hear in the comments below!