Hydrating Drink Recipes to Beat the Heat

As the temperature and humidity becomes relentless this summer, it's more important than ever to stay hydrated.  Plain water is always a good choice, but if you find yourself craving something more flavorful, try these recipes that incorporate nourishing and cooling herbs to help you withstand the heat.

Basil Lemonade Basil is a cooling herb, and lends a special kick to this refreshing herbal lemonade.

1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup water

1/2 cup lemon juice 1 1/2 cups cold water

1.  Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar begins to dissolve.  Simmer without stirring until the sugar completely dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly, about five minutes.

2.  Remove from heat and add basil, letting the mixture cool to room temperature before straining the liquid into a resealable container.  The basil syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

3.  Juice 2 to 3 lemons, enough to get 1/2 cup of lemon juice.  Combine with the basil syrup and 1 1/2 cups cold water in a pitcher.

4.  Pour lemonade over ice and serve with springs of basil if desired.  Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Mint and Sage Tea Mint and sage are also cooling herbs, and they are combined in this tea recipe based on the one served at Mimi's Hummus in Ditmas Park.  (Pregnant or nursing women should steer clear of this recipe; sage is contraindicated.)

Steep equal parts sage and mint in boiling water for 5 or 6 minutes.  Let cool and serve iced.  If desired, stir a little honey in when the tea is still hot for a sweeter taste.

Cucumber Citrus Fizz

Combine slices of peeled cucumber with a slice of lemon or lime in a glass of club soda with ice.  Easy!