We've officially reached that point in the summer where it's almost too hot to function.
Heat records are being broken, weather maps of the country look like they're suffering from a bad burn, the hum of fans and air conditioners is almost deafening, and the majority of overheard passing conversations involve words like "sweltering" and "heatpocalypse." The need to beat the heat is imminent.
Chances are you've got cool, refreshing drinks on the mind, and indeed, staying hydrated at a time like this is absolutely essential. There are the obvious things to keep in mind: drink a lot of water (just make sure it's not ice-cold, which can cause stomach cramps), avoid caffeine, sugary drinks, and hard liquor (if you must indulge in a tipple, opt for beer). But still, even the cooling potential of water can be enhanced with the addition of certain fruits and herbs. And don't think water is the only option — coconut water is a great hydrator and yogurt-based drinks, like the popular Indian lassi, are known for their cooling properties.
Check out the recipes below for ideas on how to seek some thirst-quenching reprieve from the sizzling summer temperatures.
You might not assume that yogurt would be the ideal base for a cooling drink, but this traditional Indian beverage has long been enjoyed as a refreshing hot weather refresher. Though it can be made in a variety of flavors — mango being one of the most popular — this recipe sticks to the basics, combining plain yogurt, cold water, a little sugar, and lemon juice. (Or of you want an alternative to drinking your lassi, enjoy the flavors in this tasty frozen popsicle.)
These simple summer coolers have no sugar, no sweeteners, no chemicals, and no calories. The watermelon, mint, and cucumber variety is great because all three ingredients have cooling properties and both watermelon and cucumber have a naturally high water content. Or you can try the raspberry, ginger, and Thai basil variety — the slight spice from the fresh ginger helps the body regulate its temperature.
Since you want to stay away from sugar-loaded processed juices, this is a great low-calorie drink to try. With only 65 calories per serving, it stars water-packed fresh watermelon, lime juice, and mint.