Cold-brewed coffee (also called toddy coffee) is new to me, but I’m hooked. As a fan of iced coffee, the rich flavor and lower acidity of cold-brewed coffee makes it a better option over double strength, hot-brewed coffee. The downside is that it takes 12 hours to brew, but the depth of flavor extracted from the bean makes it worth the wait.
To get started, you’ll need a cold-brew coffee maker and coursely ground coffee beans. Generally speaking, you’ll want to mix one part coffee to three parts water and ice; however, I make it with one part coffee, one part water, and one part coconut milk, adding stevia to sweeten. You can add flavored syrup, half-and-half, or soy milk, and sweeten to your own preference.
Adult Version: Add Bailey’s Irish Cream to turn your iced coffee into summer’s merry-making elixir.
Living in the South, sweet tea is as common as water, and when summer ramps up, good, old-fashioned iced tea is my first choice for a refreshing beverage. Whether you make sun tea in a glass jar on your back porch or brew it with an iced-tea maker, there are many variations to consider.
If you want more variety than a simple wedge of lemon, consider infusing your next pitcher with strawberries, raspberries, or mint leaves for extra flavor. Another option is to add a splash of your favorite flavored syrup; I use sugar-free vanilla.
Adult Version: Add a fruity kick to your iced tea with one (or two) ounces of peach schnapps per glass -- this is my favorite poolside sipper. Or if you prefer something a bit stronger, try it with your favorite whiskey or vodka.
Frozen Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate doubles as a comfort beverage when it seems winter will never end, but sometimes we need comfort when it’s hot outside, too. Frozen hot chocolate satisfies on those days when only the comfort of chocolate will do.
For a quick and easy option, toss 1 cup of milk in a blender with 1 cup of hot chocolate mix and 1 cup of ice. Blend and serve. You can also whisk the same amounts of milk and chocolate mix, then pour it over ice with a handful of mini marshmallows on top for hot chocolate on the rocks.
For something more rich and delicious, melt 2 ounces of milk chocolate chips and ¼ cup Nutella with a packet of your favorite powdered hot chocolate mix -- either in the microwave or on the stove in a double boiler. Add 1-1/2 cups of milk and stir until smooth. Blend the mixture with 2 cups ice until it becomes thick and creamy. Don’t forget the whipped cream on top.
Adult Version: In a cocktail shaker, mix 1 cup of milk, 6 ice cubes, and a packet of hot chocolate with 1 ounce of whipped cream vodka. Shake until frothy and enjoy a comforting after-dinner delight.
If chai is your usual choice, whip up an iced version by using a store-bought pre-made mix, or steep chai tea bags to make your own concentrate. I’m not a regular chai drinker, so I use the pre-made mix when I’m in the mood for it.
Mix one part chai tea with one part milk and pour over ice. Super fast and easy. The ice will dilute it some, so you may prefer more chai concentrate, but be sure to add a sprinkle of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Or, you can forgo the milk and mix equal parts of lemonade and chai for a citrus twist.
Adult Version: For a spiked version, rum and bourbon mix well with chai. I prefer the chai mixed with almond milk over ice with 1 ounce spiced rum, but feel free to experiment with your own variation.
Spiced apple cider may be synonymous with fall, but it’s another tasty drink that makes the seasonal switch without a hiccup. Certainly, pour apple cider over ice, but don’t stop there. Squeeze the juice from half an orange into your glass for a refreshing citrus blend. Or add a splash of cranberry juice for a subtle tart hint.
Adult Version: Hard cider is a popular beer alternative for those who are gluten-free as well as those who simply enjoy a carbonated apple drink with low alcohol content. Another alternative is to mix your non-alcoholic, cold apple cider with 1 ounce of cinnamon schnapps, 1 ounce of dark rum, and 2 ice cubes for a cold cocktail that will warm your insides.
Now, go chill out!
Photo Credits: Elizabeth Thomsen, red_fred, kawaiikiri, dixieroadrash and Renée Suen.