Summer Sips: Refreshing summer drink recipes

The dog days of summer are upon us, and one of my favorite things to do in the heat is sittin’ on the front porch and sippin’ a refreshing cool drink. Imagine yourself sitting in that Adirondack chair or swinging in the hammock, birds chirping, sun shining warmth on your face and a big ol’ cool drink in your hand. Now that’s livin’! 

From infused water to sangria or cucumber vodka, we’ve got you covered for a long summer of fantastic, refreshing drinks. If you love fruity, sweet, tart or sparkling, the drink recipes here will give you a reason for an outdoor party. Find your favorite summer quencher below and take a long, cool sip. Skål! Cheers! Prosit!! Salut! L’chaim! Bottoms up! Down the hatch! Here’s mud in your eye!


Cucumber Mojito

Provided by Prairie Vodka,

  • 2 parts Prairie Cucumber Flavored Vodka
  • 1 part fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 6 fresh mint leaves

Muddle mint, sugar and lime juice in a glass. Fill with ice, add vodka and top with soda water. Shake or mix and garnish with a cucumber wedge or mint.

Victoria’s Sicilian Sangria

Provided by Natalie Victoria, owner of Victoria’s Ristorante & Wine Bar located on First Avenue SW in downtown Rochester.

  • 2 parts Cabernet Sauvignon wine
  • 1 part spiced rum
  • 1 part brandy
  • 1 part pineapple juice
  • 1 part orange juice

Mix together. Add fresh fruit such as oranges, lemons, strawberries, and top with a dash of Sprite.

Chester’s Kitchen & Bar Peach Sangria 

Provided by Gina Foster, Nova Restaurant Group 

  • 4 1/2 oz. White Grenache 
  • 1 oz. (one shot) Mango Rum
  • 1/2 oz. (half shot) Peach Schnapps

Garnish with peach, strawberry and lime. 


You can infuse water with any number of herbs, spices, edible flowers, fruit and even vegetables! Making your own infused water is practically calorie free and gives you a refreshing way to stay hydrated. This goes beyond the classic ubiquitous lemon slice in water. It’s one of those things where you can get super creative and think outside the bottle. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some ideas:

  • Herbs: rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, cilantro, parsley
  • Spices: cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, fresh ginger, cloves, vanilla bean
  • Edible flowers: rose, lavender, citrus blossoms, hibiscus, pansies, violets (or any that are pesticide-free)
  • Fruit: berries (fresh or frozen), melon, tropical fruits, citrus, apples, pears
  • Vegetables: cucumber, celery, fennel, carrots
  • Water: filtered water provides the best taste.

Let the water sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to infuse. The longer it sits, the more flavorful the water will be. Use thin slices or small cubes because the flavor will infuse more quickly.

Citrus is pretty quick to infuse, herbs take a little longer. Berries can take several hours and will also release color into the water. Avoid any fruit that’s bruised or overly ripe or herbs that don’t look fresh. Add the fruit, herbs, spices or whatever you want to use into a bottle of cool water. You should keep it in the refrigerator or put ice in it if you aren’t planning to use it right away.

Nicci Sylvester, owner of Tonic Fresh Juice and Local Food restaurant recommends, “Use only fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and mineral water. This will prevent the water from tasting like a rind from the fruit.”

Pimm’s on the Lawn

Provided by Gillian Manning Currie, a Rochester resident from Cowbridge, a market town in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.

  • PIMM’S No. 1 is made in the U.K. and comes from infusing gin with herbal botanicals, caramelized orange and delicate spices.

Place some strawberries, mint, orange, and cucumber slices and muddle them together in a shaker. Add crushed ice. Pour 1 part Pimm’s  No. 1 and two parts ginger beer. Shake and pour back into the glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice or mint.

Blackberry Mojito

Provided by Natalie Victoria, owner of The Tap House on Historic Third Street in downtown Rochester. 

  • 2 parts rum
  • Turbinado sugar to taste
  • 2 parts blackberry puree
  • 1 part soda water
  • Mint
  • A dash of lime juice

Mix together and serve in a tall glass. It tastes great with a nice, big straw!

Dawn Sanborn is a drink aficionado and a front-porch sittin’ maniac. You can catch her doing this (of course with the hound) anytime the temperature is above 50.