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Drinks can be so berry good

Andy Melton, Wikimedia Commons

Refresh yourself this summer with some cold berry beverages.


At this writing, we are experiencing a heat wave, which is not unusual for this time of year. I was outside for maybe 15 minutes, and noticed that my eyeglass frames had absorbed so much heat it felt like they were burning my skin. That’s way out of my comfort zone, to say the least.

I came back in the house and poured myself an iced beverage (cranberry juice). That was so refreshing, I felt like I needed to write about it, and use berry juice beverages as the theme for this week.

I hope you are all coping with the heat of August, and making sure you don’t overdo any outdoor activities in the heat of the day. Stay cool any way you can and take care.

Berry smash

7 fresh raspberries

3 fresh blackberries

2 fluid ounces sweetened cranberry juice

1 fluid ounce apple juice

1/2 fluid ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Honey or sugar syrup, to taste

1. Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into an old-fashioned cocktail glass that is filled with crushed ice. Makes 1 serving.

Sparkling cranberry punch

2 quarts chilled cranberry juice

1 can (6-oz.) frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 liter (about 4 1/3 cups) chilled sparkling water

Citrus and seasonal fruits (such as orange and lemon slices, firm berries), for optional garnish

1. In a large punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice and lemonade concentrate. Stir in sparkling water.

2. Serve immediately and garnish with citrus or seasonal fruits to taste, if using. Makes 25 servings.

Blueberry lemonade

1/2 cup super fine granulated sugar

1 cup blueberries

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. To make the blueberry simple syrup, combine sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in blueberries and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until blueberries have broken down, about 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Strain blueberry mixture through cheesecloth or fine sieve; allow to cool.

3. In a large pitcher, whisk together blueberry simple syrup, lemon juice and 5 cups water. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.

4. Serve over ice and blueberries, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Non-alcoholic raspberry mojito

3 to 4 fresh raspberries, plus more for garnish

5 to 6 fresh mint leaves

2 tablespoons simple syrup (recipe follows)


1/4 cup raspberry juice or can use cran-raspberry juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice ( about 1/2 medium-large lime)

1/2 cup club soda or sparkling mineral water

1. To make a simple syrup, combine 1 cup granulated sugar with 1 cup water (or just equal parts, if making more or less) in a medium sauce pan.

2.Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool.

3. In a tall glass, add raspberries, mint leaves and the simple syrup.

4. Muddle (squish with the back of a wooden spoon) well until the mint, simple syrup and raspberries are well-combined. Try not to break up the mint leaves into small pieces.

5. Fill a glass with ice, add raspberry juice, then the lime juice, and then fill with club soda or sparkling mineral water. Makes 1 serving.

Strawberry punch

2 cups fresh strawberries

2 cups pineapple juice

4 cups strawberry seltzer water or mineral water


Mint, for garnish

1. Hull strawberries. Place in a food processor and process until smooth.

2. Slowly pour strawberry puree through a fine-mesh sieve and into a 2-quart pitcher. The puree will be thick, but push it through the sieve with a wooden spoon to get as much as possible into the pitcher. Then pour pineapple juice slowly over the puree remaining in the sieve. Continue to stir and press through as you pour the pineapple juice. Discard all leftover strawberry pulp.

3. Pour strawberry seltzer into the pitcher, stirring with the strawberry puree and pineapple juice until well combined.

4. Add ice to 6 glasses. Pour punch into glasses. Garnish with mint and fresh strawberries. Makes 6 servings.

Fresh strawberry juice

1 pound fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled

1 3/4 cups cold filtered water, or to taste

Optional ingredients:

Sugar, to taste

Lemon or lime juice, to taste

Pinch of salt

1. If using a blender, process the strawberries until pureed. Add water and optional sugar, lemon or lime and pinch of salt to taste, and briefly blend again to combine.

2. If using a juicer, press the strawberries through the tube to extract the juice. Add water and optional sugar, lemon or lime and pinch of salt to taste, and stir to combine. Makes 3 1/2 cups.


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