Fresh Summer Drinks

Blueberry Gin

Makes about 1 liter

1 quart blueberries
750 ml of gin

First sterilize a mason jar by submersing it in boiling water. In a saucepan, slightly cook the blueberries until slightly firm, but not mushy – about 5 minutes (this will allow for natural sugars start to release). Add blueberries into empty mason jar. Add gin (or other distilled liquor). Seal and let the two flavors infuse away from sunlight for 5 days, making sure to shake the mixture once per day. Use in standard gin and tonics or mix with Limoncello

Lavender Lemonade

7-8 servings

5 C water
1 C honey
1 T dried lavender
1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
Ice cubes
Lavender springs for garnish

Combine honey with 2 1/2 cups water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the honey. Add the lavender buds to the honey water, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand at least 20 minutes.

Strain mixture and discard lavender. Pour the lavender infusion into a glass pitcher. Add lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups more water. Stir well.

Pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice or refrigerate until ready to use. Garnish with fresh lavender sprig.

Blackberry Rumpot Cocktail

Makes 1 drink

2 oz blackberry rum
1/2 oz lemon juice
5-6 tarragon leaves, rolled
ice cubes

Rumtopf (Rumpot) is a traditional German fruited rum. During berry season, start a rumpot with 2 parts fruit and 1 part sugar, and fill with good-quality rum until 1/2 inch above the fruit line. During the picking season keep adding fruit to your rumpot, keeping the same fruit to sugar ratio.

Keep the rumpot in a cool, dark spot for several weeks before enjoying. Last summer Joy started a blackberry rumpot to preserve the elusive short season fruit – here is her cocktail.

Fill a mason jar or a cocktail shaker with 5-10 ice cubes, pour over fruited rum and lemon juice. Roll the tarragon leaves between your fingers before tossing them in the jar. Shake the jar for 30 seconds, then strain the cocktail into a glass. Serve immediately, garnished with a tarragon leaf.

Mint Cooler

2 quarts

2 Qt water
2 C fresh mint leaves, packed tightly
4 T honey
1 lime, sliced or wedged

Sarah from Farm Beach Bethel brings this tea to farmers markets, made with the mint grown at her farm. The best way to make a mint cooler is to make sun tea; place mint leaves and room temperature water in a pitcher and allow to steep in the hot summer sun. If you don’t have time to wait for the sun, you can certainly put the kettle on.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil. Add mint leaves to a large pitcher then pour over
boiled water and allow the mint to steep for 10-20 minutes. After steeping, remove most of the mint leaves and compost them.

Add 4 tablespoons of honey to the warm water, stirring until the honey is dissolved. Add 1 quart of cold water to dilute (or the equivalent combination of ice and water to fill the pitcher). If serving immediately, add lime slices to the pitcher. Otherwise, serve lime wedges with each drink over ice.

Lemon Shandy

1 drink

4 oz of lemonade
8 oz of Belgian White beer (like Blue Moon, Hoegaarden, or la Chouffe)

Hardcore beer fans might be agast by adding anything fruity to beer. We’ve found that people who think they don’t like beer, a shandy is a good, refreshing introduction into the beer world. Lemon shandies are becoming common in the beer aisle during the summer, but this homemade version is worth the effort.

To make your own lemonade concentrate, combine 1 cup of fresh lemon juice, the zest of one lemon, and 1/4 cup honey in a small saucepan and heat gently until the honey dissolves. Strain to remove the lemon zest and set aside to cool. Once cool, dilute with 3 cups of water for lemonade. Pour 4 ounces of lemonade into a beer mug and top with 8 ounces of your favorite white beer. For a picnic, multiply this recipe using a 1:2 ratio of lemonade to beer. Enjoy outside on a hot day.


1 drink

5 oz white grape juice
1/2 lime, juiced
cold seltzer water

If you’re interested in making your own soda at home, it’s best to have a quick recipe on hand. Here is one of Julie’s favorites. Grab a tall glass or tumbler and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime into the bottom. Add 5 ounces of cold white grape juice, then fill the glass with cold seltzer water from a bottle or a soda siphon.

The gremlin can be used as a base for seasonal fruit drinks throughout the year. Try adding blueberries, plums, pears, or ripe persimmons later in the year

Julie publishes Edible Ohio Valley with her family. After 15 years in the world of commercial photography, her lens is now focused on recording the sustainability movement in the Midwest. A graduate of UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, she’s a partner and co-founder of The Fairview Agency, a multidisciplinary creative firm.