Janet's Notebook
What's Your Signature Drink? Refresh Your Outlook with Cool Thirst-Quenchers

Relax with a Glass of Ginger Lemonade!

We cooks - you and I - talk a lot about what's for dinner, the meat and potatoes of our daily meals. Well, let us not forget how ultra-important a good beverage can be in creating the ideal food experience. Water may be all we need to survive, but there's nothing like a creative drink recipe to make us come alive!

These hot summer nights we've had lately have found me raising a toast to the new drink recipes I've been sampling from the Club, each one showcasing the masterful mixology of folks like you! Diane Williams' Ginger Lemonade, for example, is a delightful thirst quencher that is simple as simple can be, yet absolutely delicious. "This [lemonade] is so refreshing on a hot summer day," says the Bakersfield, CA native. "If you want to dress this up for a party, put a lemon slice, a strawberry and a lime slice on a skewer and lay on top of the glass. It also works well if you want to add vodka to make a mixed drink."

Well, now there's an idea! The Kitchen Crew and I enjoy this drink as a non-alcoholic treat, however, many drink recipes can easily be made over into adult beverages for cocktail or dinner parties if you're so inclined.

Another great way to make an impression with your guests is to serve them an absolutely perfectly prepared classic... like sweet tea! Still further proof that delicious doesn't have to be complicated, Debbie DeRousse's Southern Sweet Tea recipe is, in our view, the quintessential method for brewing tea. "I think I cut my teeth on iced tea," jokes Debbie. "I drink it morning, noon and night."

And, frankly, we don't blame her a bit! This Houston gal has brought me back to my Southern roots. There's no great secret to her recipe, just a time-proven technique that has been cooling folks off for generations. All you need is water, teabags and a fair amount of sugar. (Front porch and rocking chairs optional.)

Speaking of super cool drinks, where would we be without a delicious ice cream find?! Thanks to Catherine Haury of Fair Oaks, CA, the Kitchen Crew gals and I have had ice cream headaches for days! We just can't stop sipping on her recipe for a Wannabe Frosty! That's right, Catherine's dishing on her favorite taste-alike recipe for the fast-food classic. "[This] tasty recipe was passed to me by a friend. My daughter and I love these," says Catherine, "especially on a hot day!" Simply mix together milk, whipped topping, cocoa powder, chocolate pudding, vanilla and ice for a dead-ringer dessert. (Try adding malted milk powder for even more richness!)

With just a few ingredients and a little bit effort, you too can easily whip up these - or your own - signature drinks! Perfectly punctuate the end of your day with real homemade, refreshment. More times than not it’s those hand-mixed drinks that bring the greatest enjoyment especially when unwinding on the patio after a long day. It's moments like that when homemade recipes somehow taste even richer than usual, cooling the heat of the evening and refreshing the tired spirit.

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Suzanne Ferguson - Aug 18, 2011
Sun Tea and lemonade. So refreshing when it is over 110 here in Vegas!
Perry P Perkins - Jul 21, 2011
Here's our favorite sippin' while the pigs roast...

Spicy Tequila Limeade

3 oz tequila
2 oz grenadine syrup
8 oz limeade
1/2 oz lime juice
1 jalapeno, halved and seeded

Pour in order; tequila, grenadine then limeade into two highball glasses, add jalapeno, stir, and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Add 4 ice cubes to each glass. Squeeze the lime juice from roughly half a lime over the top of each, and serve.


Perry P. Perkins
“La Caja China Cooking”
“La Caja China World”
Paige Nicholas - Jul 11, 2011
I like to brew unsweetened Peach Tea,(enough for a gal.), then add 1/2 cup of Strawberry lemonade mix. I fix it all year round, even through Minnesota winters.
Brenda Brown - Jul 11, 2011
I make my own homemade wine a gallon at a time. Depending on my mood I add this to either Seltzer or Sprite.In a chilled glass,it's very refreshing after a long HOT Mississippi summer day! Make your own wine,go to plaza.ufl.edu/scott28/wine.html
Kim Biegacki - Jul 11, 2011
I just recently found a really wonderful recipe that I will post that is very delicious and enjoyable with the added flavor of basil. Basil-Infused Watermelon Lemonade
Marty Jensen - Jul 10, 2011
That sounds like a great idea!! I am going to check it out since I have a party to go to and that may be just the thing! Thank you :)
Loretta Nebe - Jul 10, 2011
My favorite drinks with adults are the great Tastefully simple drink buckets that I sell.They can be made the night before or days before a group get together.I make them using different friuts and spirits.They are mixed it the bucket they come in.When ready I just open up the freezer scoop into glass(s)add a little gingerale at times and the party begins.
They can also be made for youngers to make them feel apart of the party,just omit the spirits.
Check out my website TastefullySimple.com/web/lnebe
I also sell great spices and snacks to serve at your next family or friend get together.
Bonnie Arielly - Jul 10, 2011
Guests always ask for more when I serve this: 1/3 cranberry juice, 1/3 orange juice, 1/3 lemon-lime soda served over ice. It's pretty, too. Kick it up a notch with vodka if you like.
Marty Jensen - Jul 10, 2011
I am still stuck on plain bottled water. I love water!! I don't like tap water - too much chemical flavor here for me but I buy Poland Spring Water, re-use the bottles for hubby's milk in his lunch box the next day and then return for my 5 cent redemption! Never any waste and I never throw the bottles away. But it is water all the way for me! (I have to admit I have been known to drink Orangina as well on occasion.)
Terri Watson - Jul 9, 2011
I love a good smoothie...here's one I came up with.
In a heavy duty blender add...
1 banana (cut up)
1/2 cup berries (strawberries or blueberries or both)
2 scoops of frozen vanilla yogart
1 cup apple juice
ice (about 3/4 cup)
Blend until smooth. YUMMY!
Lynda Duthler - Jul 9, 2011
One of my favorite summertime drinks is Hibiscus Tea. Steep 1.5 cups dried hibiscus blossoms in 3 Cups boiling water for 10-15 minutes. I like to add some fresh mint leaves during the steeping process. Strain out the blossoms and add a dollop of honey (Splenda, Sugar, Agave - whatever rings your bell) to sweeten to taste. Add cold water to make 1 Gallon. Add fresh or frozen sliced strawberries, orange and/or lemon slices, or even pureed fruit. Serve over ice with fresh mint leaves.
Diane Kelland - Jul 8, 2011
My grandchildren love this little sipper. They have it all summer long and sometimes for the winter if we don't use up all the watermelon in the freezer. It is simple. Get a seedless watermelon. Cut the melon up and put it in a blender. Take the juice and pour into ice trays and freeze. Now you can use the melon juice as ice in sprite, strawberry soda or make frozen snow cones with it. I freeze up watermelon ice to use in the winter as well. The grandbabies love it and I don't mind it either. A nice southern hot weather cooler for sure!!
Bridget Morck - Jul 8, 2011
Nothin' beats home-made Sun Tea! Living in the High Desert in SoCal means that I can make it year-round, and I have been known to! Just some sugar and lemon juice, and you have something delicious (and nutritious if you add some green tea bags into the mix!).
Joyce Baldwin Matulewicz - Jul 7, 2011
2 cups strawberry daiquiri mix
2 2-liters sprite
bag frozen strawberries

In bunch bowl, mix daiquiri mix and sprite, float frozen strawberries in bunch to keep it cold. I always get raves about this punch when I make it for parties, sooo good!
Pamela Ricer - Jul 7, 2011
I just posted my recipe for "Olive Garden" Venetian Sunsets. The reason I used to go to Olive Garden, the reason my friends visit me...alot LOL