The main advantage of creating both hot and cold drinks at home is that you can create special flavors and blends. The possibilities are endless, from nonalcoholic, flavored fruit drinks to highly spiced, mulled party punches.
Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Fruit and vegetable juices are hard to beat for nutrients and fresh flavor. If you enjoy fresh juices, an electric juicer is a worthwhile investment. Otherwise, keep a variety of pre-made juices on hand to mix and match flavors and create refreshing drinks at any time of day.
Adding flower water
Make the flavor of a plain fruit juice more interesting by adding a few drops of orange flower water or rosewater. Stir the juice thoroughly before serving.
• Pressing apples: If you are making apple juice in an electric juicer, add a handful of red fruits such as strawberries or raspberries to give the juice a rosy glow and add flavor.
• Using pulp: Instead of discarding the high-fiber pulp that is left behind after pressing juice, use it in your cooking to add flavor. Add carrot or celery pulp to soups or bread, and include apple or peach pulp in fruit cake recipes.
• Maintaining color: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice when pressing apples or pears to keep their color and prevent them from turning brown.
Making Swizzle Sticks
Using scallions: Use scallions as edible swizzle sticks. Trim root ends and the tops of the leaves – leaving some green for color – just before serving to release flavor.
• Using garlic: To pep up the flavor of vegetable juice, rub a cut clove of garlic around the inside of a glass or pitcher before adding the juice, or add a pinch of garlic or celery salt.
• Chopping herbs: Improve the flavor and color of plain vegetable juices by adding chopped fresh herbs. Try basil, parsley, or lovage in tomato juice, and use tarragon or coriander in carrot juice.
• Adding fruit and fizz: To make a refreshing summer drink, add chunks of fresh fruits to fresh fruit juice, half-fill tall tumblers, and top off the juice with soda or sparkling mineral water.
Adding frozen fruits: Instead of using ice to chill juices, freeze fresh fruits such as grapes or lemon slices. Add these to drinks just before serving to chill and decorate.