It's summer time, finally, and the living is easy. The sun is shining (at times) and the days are longer, meaning you get to spend more time outside in the garden or at the local park. So why not make the most of it with friends or family over a picnic or barbecue? Here's our top 10 of summer drinks to make those special moments taste a little bit better.
One great drink which all the family can enjoy is a smoothie. Take advantage of tropical fruits found on supermarket shelves in summer, such as pineapple or papaya, or both together, and mix in a blender with either milk and yogurt or water for a refreshingly healthy beverage.
Turn your favourite brew into a chilly delight by making a pitcher of ice tea. Whether you prefer Earl Grey or a supermarket's own brand, zing it up with some zesty citrus slices for the perfect afternoon drink - no milk required.
Related: How to Make Thai Iced Tea
Our third favourite summer drink is another hot drink which has cooled off: the frapuccino. Latte or cappuccino fans in need of their caffeine hit will love sucking up a frozen coffee through a straw. Simply make your coffee as usual, cool it down with some ice then pop some whipped cream and choccie sprinkles on top. Heaven.
Although slices are often used to zip up a glass of pop, why not make the humble lemon the star of the drinks show. There's nothing quite like homemade lemonade to resuscitate thirsty hearts and minds, or you could even try limeade. Add in some fresh ginger slices and mint leaves for the ultimate liquid refreshment.
As cool as a...
Why not experiment with fruit and vegetables for an unusual summertime drink? The saying "as cool as a cucumber" exists for a reason, you know... Take a succulent watermelon and a perfectly straight cucumber. Strain the seeds from both, whizz them up in a blender, and you have the coolest summer drink going. Add lime juice to taste, and vodka for a harder hit.
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Packing a Punch
Which leads us onto summer drinks with a punch to them. In fact, let's start off with Planter's Punch. There are several variations of this classic Caribbean cocktail, a recipe which is more than 100 years old, but the basic Planter's Punch is made from dark rum, equal parts of orange and pineapple juice and a dash of grenadine. A real sunshine-infusing drink.
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Great British Classic
The quintessential British classic, associated with Wimbledon, Henley Regatta and sunny afternoons, is Pimm's No. 1 Cup. Always spruce it with mint and cucumber and mix with lemonade but why not try the original Victorian version by adding orange and lemon slices to this easy-to-drink, gin-based aperitif. The Classic, meanwhile, uses succulent strawberries and orange pieces.
Related: Prepare the perfect British picnic
One versatile fruit which works well with plenty of spirits is the grapefruit. Use it as a mixer to accompany vodka, use it to make an alternative margarita, add fresh grapefruit juice and club soda to the Italian aperitif Campari, or for the ultimate holiday snapshot in a glass, mix a Sea Breeze: vodka, cranberry juice, ice and lime topped off with grapefruit juice.
When you go strawberry-picking this summer, be sure to pick enough to blend into a daiquiri or three. But you can also get creative with this succulent English fruit. Why not make a Strawberry Jive Cocktail - gin, orange juice, basil and mint leaves, lemon juice and syrup - a Strawberry Punch, with white rum, syrup, lime juice and pineapple juice or a Strawberry Daze - with Cointreau, tequila and orange juice.
For the ultimate summer tipple which will bring sun to your life even in winter, let's turn to the Caribbean for inspiration. The following drinks use dark or white rum. The classic Cuba Libre is a simple concoction of cola and lime juice, while its refreshing sibling the Cuban Mojito uses mint, lime and crushed ice. For a drink with a kick, try the Zombie, which relies on four different rums, apricot brandy and orange, pineapple and lime juice. But it has to be Puerto Rico's Piña Colada that is the ultimate sunshine drink. Blend pineapple juice, coconut cream and light rum together for a truly tropical summery drink.