Refresh, Rehydrate, Renew
By ROBIN LOCKWOOD
A refreshing way to beat the heat during the dog days of summer is cold herb-infused beverages. Herbs add sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle, thirst quenching tastes that cool and sooth scorched human beings.
Using local “weeds” as well as flowers and herbs from the garden make this a fun activity for everyone.
- 2 handfuls of dried rosemary
- 2 c. water
- 1 liter ginger ale
- 12 oz. frozen pineapple juice
Heat water and rosemary until boiling, then simmer for five minutes. Let cool then strain out the rosemary. Combine with the pineapple juice. Add ginger ale right before serving.
Lemon Verbena Lemonade
- 1 ¼ c. sugar
- 1 ¼ c.water
- ¼ c. lemon verbena leaves
- 5 c. fresh lemon juice, strained (about 24 lemons)
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add lemon verbena. Cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, and let cool completely. Combine lemon juice and lemon verbena syrup in a pitcher. Fill glasses with lemon verbena ice cubes (below), and divide lemonade among glasses.
Lemon Verbena Ice Cubes
- Boiled water, cooled
- 24 lemon verbena leaves
Fill two ice trays halfway with water and freeze. Top each cube with a lemon verbena leaf, cover with water and freeze for up to one week.
- 6-8 clusters of sumac berries (only the ones growing upright)
- 1 gal. water
Place the berry clusters in to the water and bring it to a slow boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Strain the liquid into a pitcher and add honey or sugar to taste. Refrigerate and serve cold. This tea tastes exactly like lemonade with high vitamin C content.
Strawberry and Basil Tea
- 8 black-tea bags
- 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and halved (quartered if large)
- 1 c. water, plus more for steeping
- ¾ c. sugar
- 1 c. fresh basil, plus more for serving
- Ice, for serving
Bring 4 c. water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add tea bags, and let steep for five minutes.
Place strawberries in a bowl. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add basil, and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain over strawberries; discard basil. Toss to coat. Let stand until cool, about 25 minutes. Combine syrupy berries and tea in a pitcher. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve over ice, and garnish with basil.
Lemon Verbena or Mint Sun Rooisbos Tea
- 2 tbsp. loose rooibos tea
- 2 tbsp. dried lemon verbena or dried mint
- 2 qt. cold water
- Honey or sugar, to taste
Place tea and lemon verbena or mint on a square of cheesecloth. Tie into a bundle with kitchen twine. Place tea bag in a large glass jar, and add water. Cover, and steep in direct sunlight for two hours. Then, strain tea, and discard solids. Stir in honey or sugar. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to three days.
Cucumber and Basil Tea
- 2 cumbers, peeled
- ½ c. fresh basil leaves
- 1 qt. of fresh water
Slice the cucumbers. Place the sliced cucumbers and basil into the fresh water. Refrigerate overnight.
Keeping hydrated is all important during the dog days of summer, so try these recipes and discover a brand new way of staying refreshed and hydrated.
Robin Lockwood is a Master Herbalist and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner who lives on Bending Chestnut Road with her husband Rick. She may be contacted at 615.478.1321 or at email@example.com.