50 Refreshing Non-Alcoholic Drinks to Make for Summer

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KICK BACK WITHOUT THE KICK

The key to the ultimate summer hang is cool and refreshing drinks. While cocktails and even punch are generally served during the season, it's nice to offer non-alcoholic options that deliver just as much flavor and enjoyment without the booze. It's often as easy as removing the liquor from the recipe, while other concoctions rely on herbs, flavorings, and even chilies for an extra punch. These alcohol-free summer drinks are sure to keep guests happy.
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CUCUMBER LIMEADE

Made with a simple base from inexpensive limes, this go-to beverage is as easy to make -- and it's cheap. The recipe from Saveur calls for mint, but basil, thyme, or lemon balm would also work well.
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STRAWBERRY BALSAMIC BASIL SODA

This show-stopping homemade soda is bursting with flavor. Taking a page from the classic combination of sweet tangy strawberries with balsamic, a recipe in the Scaling Back blog adds basil for herbal balance.
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LAVENDER LEMONADE

The mild and soothing flavor of lavender is common in baked goods and is starting to appear in drinks. A recipe in the Small Footprint Family blog for this simple combination is a way to ease into cooking with floral elements. Be sure to use food-grade lavender, which is cheap and easy to find online or at local farmers markets.
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GRAPEFRUIT SHRUB

Shrubs are tangy syrups made from fruit and vinegar and are used to make homemade sodas. A recipe from MyRecipes covers the basics of a citrus shrub and is a good place to start before experimenting with other flavors.
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PEACH AND VANILLA ICED TEA

A vanilla bean takes peach iced tea to the next level with its aromatic intensity and illusion of creaminess. Boiling a vanilla bean in the tea water provides more intense flavor than an extract, too.
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SMOKEY LAPSANG SOUCHONG ICED TEA

The intense smoky flavor of lapsang souchong creates an iced tea with depth and dimension in the Martha Stewart recipe. Coupled with spicy-sweet ginger preserves, the drink becomes as complex as any cocktail with just a few ingredients.
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WHITE GRAPE SPRITZER

This fizzy and sweet refreshment is speckled with frozen grapes, which are a treat unto themselves. The fruit and bubbles in a Tablespoon recipe make it feel as festive as punch, perfect for large parties and celebrations.
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CHERRY LIMEADE

Update the traditional recipe by using fresh seasonal fruit as the base rather than sugary and pricey store-bought sodas. The result is even better than most people remember.
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PASSION FRUIT JUICE

Tart and full of flavor, passion fruit is an intriguing flavor for everything from cocktails to cakes. Ideally, use fresh passion fruit, but in a pinch check your grocery store's frozen aisle for passion fruit puree that comes ready to mix with water and sugar.
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TEPACHE

This traditional Mexican soft drink is made from fermenting pineapple, and it produces a fizzy beverage that lands somewhere between sweet and sour. While it is fermented for a few days, it does not contain significant amounts of alcohol.
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TAMARINDO FRESCA

This rich agua fresca is a mainstay in Latin America, and making it at home with a recipe like the one on SoFabFood allows the amount of sweetness to be fine-tuned. While buying tamarind pulp may cut out a step, starting from the pods keeps costs down.
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THAI ICED TEA

Intense and sweet, Thai iced tea is always a treat. Because of its richness one serving goes a long way, which makes this an excellent choice for those minding their party-planning budget.
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MANGO LASSI

Yogurt and mango combine into a soft, velvety milkshake-like texture. The recipe from celebrity chef Jamie Oliver calls for fresh mangoes, but frozen mango can also be used straight from the freezer for an extra-thick drink.
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SPICY PINEAPPLE SODA

Sprinkle chili powder on pineapple spears to give this drink the charm of a michelada with none of the alcohol. Use bottled soda or make it yourself by combining fresh grapefruit juice, soda water, and sugar to taste.
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SPICY LEMONADE

Adding a little heat to drinks is a cheap and simple way to boost flavor. A gentle heat from cayenne pepper complements the natural sweetness of lemonade in a recipe from The Daily Meal.
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STRAWBERRY LEMONADE

Beautifully pink-hued and infused with summer strawberries, this twist on traditional lemonade never gets old. To mix things up, try garnishing each glass with sprigs of herbs or a combination of citrus wheels.
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GRAPEFRUIT PUNCH

Pretty in pink, this sweet punch is an easy crowd pleaser made from cheap staples like juice concentrate, sugar, and water. Substitute oranges for a sweeter and milder punch, or combine different types of citrus.
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CUCUMBER-MINT WATER

This water tastes better the longer it sits. It takes just seconds to throw together, and transforms a batch of water into something special for a small price. As simple as it is, it is remarkably refreshing.
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HORCHATA

This traditional Latin American drink is made from rice, sugar, and cinnamon, and it's a delicious companion to spicy food. While a glass of horchata usually costs $4 at a restaurant, the instructions from All Recipes prove it's inexpensive to make at home.
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CINNAMON WATER

It doesn't get much simpler than this. Just a few cinnamon sticks are enough to infuse enough water for a party, which may be the cheapest way to step up your non-alcoholic beverage game.
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ICED CHAI

The key to this boldly-flavored drink is using extra tea bags for a concentrated final product. Adjust the flavor and texture by playing with different kinds of milk, like coconut or condensed.
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FROZEN BLUEBERRY LEMONADE

Blueberries and lemons were meant to go together, and this frozen version from Real Simple takes the combination to the next level. Bursting with ripe summer flavor, this frozen drink is a seasonal favorite.
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ARNOLD PALMER

A classic blend of lemonade and iced tea, this oldie-but-goodie is still a go-to summer sipper. Sticklers for tradition will stick to 3 parts tea to 1 part lemonade, but feel free to mix it up.
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GINGER LIME SPRITZER

This vibrant concoction uses spicy fresh ginger and tangy limes to pack a lot of flavor into one drink. Starting from fresh whole ingredients, the version on the Taste and Tell blog has the added bonus of quelling nausea.
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VIRGIN MARGARITA

The key to fresh-tasting virgin margaritas is using freshly-squeezed citrus. The Food.com recipe has both frozen and straight-up versions.
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VIRGIN MOJITO

A mojito gets its characteristic flavor from muddling the lime, sugar, and mint together. Even sans alcohol, the results from the Food.com recipe are fresh and delicious.
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BASIL LEMON COOLER

This mocktail/green juice recipe from the Discover Finer Living blog is delicious, fresh, and has a health boost, too. Those who like it sweet can add an extra apple.
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WATERMELON JUICE

A drink this easy and tasty is too good not to make. When summertime watermelon is plentiful and inexpensive, this should be a staple at every gathering. Simply blend watermelon with water and the juice of a lime and enjoy.
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SHIRLEY TEMPLE

An old-school favorite, Shirley Temples are the mocktails of choice for children everywhere. Recreate this classic at home with a few simple ingredients. Making this into a large format punch also works well for a crowd.
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ROOT BEER FLOAT

While it walks the line between beverage and dessert, this non-alcoholic option is a no-fail hit at any summer get together. With just root beer and ice cream, it's easy to let guests create their own.
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POMEGRANATE ORANGE JUICE

Pomegranate juice has an almost bitter pithiness that, combined with sweet orange juice, creates a drink that is more than the sum of its parts. Deceptively simple, this will likely become a summer staple. Add lime for an extra kick.
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VIRGIN BANANA DAIQUIRI

Banana daiquiris have been gracing cocktail menus for decades. Ripe bananas lend a sweet and creamy texture to a tropical tradition. Use any favorite banana daiquiri recipe and skip the rum for a non-alcoholic version.
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VIRGIN PIÑA COLADA

Canned coconut milk instead of fresh coconut reduces both hassle and cost in a recipe from the High Heels and Grills blog. This blended, creamy drink is rich, which makes each serving go a long way.
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SERRANO WATERMELON LIMEADE

Watermelon, lime, and serrano chilies are added to many a salsa and salad, so why not a drink? In the recipe from A Feteful Life blog, the extra heat adds an addictively tasty element.
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GRAPEFRUIT ROSEMARY SPARKLER

Adding a pungent herb to an otherwise traditional drink brings out more nuanced flavors in a recipe from The Casual Craflete blog. To get the flavor of the herb into each sip, it's important to infuse it into a simple syrup in addition to using it as a garnish.
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RHUBARB MAPLE SOUR

Make the most of summer produce by using it in drinks. Rhubarb is often used in preserves, which makes it easy to add to mocktails like the one from the Wake Up and Eat blog, which balances tartness with sweet maple and tangy lime.
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SPICY MANGO JUICE

This brightly-colored juice is packed full of nutrients , so drink without guilt. The sweetness of ripe mangoes is balanced with piquant ginger and a dash of spicy cayenne in the recipe from the She Paused for Thought blog.
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POMEGRANATE LIME SODA

This refreshing soda is remarkably simple. Mix sparkling water with pomegranate juice, then add lime juice and sugar to taste. It also makes a nice addition to a breakfast or brunch spread served from a pitcher.
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VIRGIN SANGRIA

Sangria is essentially fruit punch, which is easy (and cheaper) to recreate without the alcohol. The recipe from The Kitchn uses pomegranate juice and tea to mimic the flavor of traditional red wine, which also keeps the final product from becoming too sweet.
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HERBED ICED TEA

Jazzing up a pitcher of iced tea with herbs is cheap, especially if you use ingredients from your garden. Experiment with different types of herbs ranging from thyme and rosemary to tarragon and basil.
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HIBISCUS LEMON COOLER

Dried hibiscus is not only cheap, but flavorful. The recipe from Monica Metz's blog makes use of this tart and bright pink flower for an unexpected twist on lemonade.
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ESPRESSO SLUSHY

While there is no alcohol, this perky blend of espresso powder with bright lemon zest and rich cream still has a kick. The recipe for the slushy in Real Simple creates an irresistible slushy that is just the right amount of sweet.
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ICED GINGER MINT GREEN TEA

Fresh ginger and mint give iced green tea an extra dose of flavor. White tea also works well in the Epicurious recipe, but both green and white tea allow the natural spiciness of the drink to shine.
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BLACKBERRY LEMONADE

There's nothing better than turning an extra box of ripe blackberries into a refreshing beverage. A recipe from Taste of Home uses whole fresh ingredients to create a simple blend of lemons, berries, sugar and water.
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AGUA DE MELON

A combination of melon, lime and water makes a light drink that is incredibly satisfying. Just a touch of sweetness and flavor from the melon in the Eating Well recipe keep this from being too heavy, which is exactly what's needed during the dog days of summer.
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SWEET TEA

This iconic southern beverage has stood the test of time thanks to its balanced flavors. The key is to add baking soda to the mix. The recipe from Southern Living is cheap and simple, but attention to detail is necessary.
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COCONUT ICED TEA

Lighten up your green iced tea with coconut water for an unexpected twist. The subtle coconut flavor pairs surprisingly well with green tea in a recipe from the Hello Little Home blog and reduces the amount of concentrated caffeine, too.
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VIRGIN STRAWBERRY DAIQUIRI

Just a few strawberries are the base of this ultra-fruitydrink. While the recipe from Blender Babes calls for fresh berries, use frozen berries and reduce the amount of ice for a thicker drink.
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CANTALOUPE COOLER

This semi-frozen drink is a mellow punch best made with ripe melons. The ginger adds sweet heat to balance the other flavors in a version from MyRecipes. Garnish with mint to increase the refreshment factor.
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ICED CHOCOLATE

Just because it's hot out doesn't mean it's not the right time for drinking chocolate. The Taste and Tell blog suggests a rich version that, with or without the gelato, can double as dessert.