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Cooling Drinks

Thursday, July 05, 2012

This summer is definitely proving to be a scorcher. The humidity is no joke; fans are struggling to circulate cooler air, while air-conditioning units are controlled at the lowest degree possible to counteract the ridiculously high temperatures on the mercury scale.

Water is the ultimate thirst quencher; so hydrate as often as possible. Try and make it a habitual practice to walk with a bottle of "crystal punch" as it's affectionately known. If you are constantly mobile and not sure if where you are heading has a refrigerator or not, freeze water in your bottle overnight so it slowly melts throughout the day to provide cool water, and take sips often. If not, purchase bottled water which is literally sold everywhere, or take advantage of those complimentary office coolers whenever you go into a commercial building. Luckily, at many traffic lights on major thoroughfares there are some enterprising young men and women who sell cool bottled water for when you are sitting in traffic and 'melting'.

Heat and alcohol, for me personally, don't mix well, fortunately or unfortunately. I can only tolerate a cool glass of white or rosé wine during these times; no red wine or spirits for me until it gets cooler again. I love to make non-alcoholic spritzers and coolers that are just as fun to drink as any cocktail, and equally delicious. My blender and juicer also tend to be heavily rotated as I often make healthy and nutritious juices and smoothies as meal replacements when I am too hot to eat a proper meal, but still know my body needs proper nutrition.

Jamaica is so blessed to have so many locally grown fruits and vegetables to make an array of cooling summer drinks outside of good old limeade, which, to be honest, you can't beat sometimes. To make this old standby extra vibrant, add some fresh sprigs of mint or some chunks of watermelon. Enjoy these refreshing summery drinks to give you some ideas, go on, get crazy in the market and experiment with some lovely fruit and vegetable combinations. Cheers!

Thanks to my wonderful weekly sponsors MegaMart, the 2012 Jamaica Observer Food Award winner for Best Shopping Experience.

Contact me at juicycheffoodmedia@gmail.com

Bon Appétit!

Pineapple and Basil Floats

Something magical happens when sweet pineapple is paired with aniseed like basil. Add the creaminess of vanilla ice cream and you have an adult smoothielike drink. I had this at a dinner party once and asked the hostess for the recipe. She jotted it down for me confessing that she got it from a recipe card.

This recipe serves two.

Ingredients:

1 whole pineapple

A few sprigs of basil, reserve a couple for garnish

Vanilla ice cream

Method:

Peel, core and cut pineapple into rough chunks. Remove basil leaves from stems Push the fruit and herbs through a juice extractor. Pour equally into 2 glasses and top each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with basil.

JuicyChef's Berries and Beets

I love to combine sweet berries, any sort, such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, with beets for a tart to make a sweet pick me up. It's a drink loaded with antioxidants. Here in Jamaica, I use frozen berries to make this drink so it's nice, icy and refreshing. If you are using fresh berries, add a little crushed ice.

This recipe serves two.

Ingredients:

4 medium beets

1 Cup/250g frozen berries, your choice

Method:

Peel beets and push through a juice extractor followed by the berries. Serve immediately.

JuicyChef's Callaloo Delight

I wanted to add a green juice to today's line-up of cooling beverages. This one packs a healthy and delicious punch. I like to experiment with all sorts of combinations and this one is quite refreshing. This recipe serves two.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls callaloo

1 bunch of green grapes

4 celery sticks, plus a couple extra for garnish

Crushed ice

Method:

Push callaloo through juicer followed by grapes and celery sticks. Add crushed ice to tall glasses and pour in the juice.

Garnish with an extra celery stick.




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