10 Traditional Drinks That Are Best for Summer


Summer is the perfect time to enjoy refreshing drinks that not only quench your thirst but also provide a delightful taste experience. Traditional drinks from various cultures offer unique flavors and cooling properties ideal for hot weather. In this article, we will explore ten traditional drinks that are best for summer, each bringing its own special touch to your summer refreshment routine.

The Importance of Staying Hydrated in Summer

Staying hydrated during the hot summer months is essential for maintaining health and well-being. Dehydration can lead to various health issues such as heatstroke, fatigue, and headaches. Traditional summer drinks not only keep you hydrated but also offer a refreshing break from plain water.

1. Aguas Frescas (Mexico)

Aguas frescas are light, non-alcoholic beverages made from fruits, flowers, seeds, or cereals blended with sugar and water. Popular varieties include:

  • Horchata: Made from rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  • Jamaica: Prepared with hibiscus flowers, offering a tart and tangy flavor.
  • Tamarindo: Made from tamarind pods, providing a sweet and sour taste.

How to Make Aguas Frescas:

  1. Blend the chosen fruit or ingredient with water until smooth.
  2. Strain the mixture to remove any pulp or solids.
  3. Add sugar to taste and chill before serving.

2. Lassi (India)

Lassi is a traditional yogurt-based drink from India, known for its cooling properties. There are several varieties:

  • Sweet Lassi: Made with yogurt, sugar, and a touch of cardamom.
  • Salted Lassi: Includes yogurt, salt, and spices like cumin.
  • Mango Lassi: Combines fresh mango puree with yogurt and sugar.

Health Benefits:

Lassi is rich in probiotics, which aid in digestion and boost the immune system. It’s also a good source of calcium and protein.

3. Ayran (Turkey)

Ayran is a simple, savory yogurt drink popular in Turkey and neighboring countries. It’s made by mixing yogurt with water and adding a pinch of salt.

Ingredients and Preparation:

  1. Mix equal parts yogurt and water.
  2. Add salt to taste and stir well.
  3. Serve chilled, often with a sprig of mint for extra refreshment.

Cultural Significance:

Ayran is often enjoyed with meals, especially during the hot summer months, as it complements savory dishes and helps with digestion.

4. Sikanjabeen (Iran)

Sikanjabeen is a traditional Iranian drink made with vinegar and mint syrup, often served with grated cucumber. It offers a unique sweet and tangy flavor.

Recipe and Variations:

  1. Dissolve sugar in water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add vinegar and fresh mint leaves.
  3. Simmer until the syrup thickens.
  4. Mix the syrup with cold water and serve with grated cucumber.

5. Horchata (Spain/Mexico)

Horchata is a traditional drink that varies by region. Spanish horchata is made from tiger nuts, while Mexican horchata uses rice.

Differences Between Spanish and Mexican Horchata:

  • Spanish Horchata: Made from chufa (tiger nuts), sugar, and water.
  • Mexican Horchata: Made from rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Nutritional Value:

Horchata is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially in its traditional forms. It’s a good source of energy and hydration.

See also: What are the Ways to Ensure Food Safety in the Kitchen

6. Cendol (Southeast Asia)

Cendol is a popular dessert drink in Southeast Asia, made with coconut milk, green rice flour jelly, and palm sugar syrup.

Key Ingredients:

  • Coconut milk
  • Green rice flour jelly (cendol)
  • Palm sugar syrup
  • Crushed ice

How It’s Served:

Cendol is typically served in a bowl or tall glass, layered with crushed ice and drizzled with palm sugar syrup.

7. Tamarind Water (Global)

Tamarind water, or agua de tamarindo, is a refreshing drink made from tamarind pulp, water, and sugar. It’s enjoyed in various forms around the world.

Preparation Methods:

  1. Soak tamarind pods in hot water until soft.
  2. Extract the pulp and mix with water.
  3. Sweeten to taste and serve chilled.

Benefits of Tamarind:

Tamarind is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It aids in digestion and provides a tangy, refreshing taste.

8. Bael Sherbet (India)

Bael sherbet is made from the pulp of the bael fruit, known for its cooling properties and health benefits.

Health Benefits:

Bael fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. It’s known to aid digestion, reduce heatstroke symptoms, and boost immunity.

Traditional Preparation:

  1. Soak bael fruit in water until soft.
  2. Extract the pulp and mix with water.
  3. Sweeten with jaggery or sugar and serve chilled.

9. Switchel (USA)

Switchel, also known as haymaker’s punch, is a traditional American drink made with water, vinegar, ginger, and sweeteners like molasses or honey.

Historical Roots:

Switchel was popular among farmers and laborers for its refreshing and energizing properties.

Modern Recipes:

  1. Mix apple cider vinegar with water.
  2. Add grated ginger and sweetener.
  3. Let it steep and serve over ice.

10. Cold Brew Tea (Global)

Cold brew tea is a simple and refreshing way to enjoy tea without the bitterness that can come from hot brewing.

Types of Tea Used:

  • Green tea
  • Black tea
  • Herbal teas

Benefits of Cold Brewing:

Cold brewing tea extracts a smoother, less bitter flavor and retains more antioxidants.

Health Benefits of Traditional Summer Drinks

Traditional summer drinks often contain natural ingredients that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These drinks can aid digestion, boost immunity, and offer cooling effects that are perfect for hot weather.

Making Your Own Summer Drinks at Home

Basic Ingredients:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Yogurt
  • Herbs and spices
  • Natural sweeteners

Tips for Customization:

  • Experiment with different flavor combinations.
  • Adjust sweetness to taste.
  • Use fresh, seasonal ingredients for the best flavor.

Tips for Serving Summer Drinks

Presentation Ideas:

  • Serve in colorful glasses or mason jars.
  • Add fresh fruit slices or herbs for garnish.
  • Use crushed or cubed ice for a refreshing touch.

Garnishing Tips:

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Citrus slices
  • Edible flowers

Sourcing Ingredients for Traditional Drinks

Where to Find Ingredients:

  • Local farmers’ markets
  • Ethnic grocery stores
  • Online specialty shops

Substitution Tips:

  • Use honey or agave syrup instead of sugar.
  • Substitute dairy yogurt with plant-based alternatives.
  • Use dried herbs if fresh ones are unavailable.

Enhancing the Flavor of Summer Drinks

Using Herbs and Spices:

  • Add basil, mint, or cilantro for a fresh taste.
  • Use ginger, cinnamon, or cardamom for a spicy kick.

Sweeteners and Alternatives:

  • Honey
  • Agave syrup
  • Maple syrup


What are aguas frescas?

Aguas frescas are light, non-alcoholic beverages from Mexico made from fruits, flowers, seeds, or cereals blended with sugar and water.

How do you make lassi?

Lassi is made by blending yogurt with water or milk, adding sugar or salt, and sometimes including fruit or spices.

What is ayran?

Ayran is a Turkish yogurt-based drink made by mixing yogurt with water and adding a pinch of salt.

What is the difference between Spanish and Mexican horchata?

Spanish horchata is made from tiger nuts, while Mexican horchata is made from rice, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.

What is switchel?

Switchel, also known as haymaker’s punch, is an American drink made with water, vinegar, ginger, and sweeteners like molasses or honey.

How do you cold brew tea?

Cold brew tea is made by steeping tea leaves in cold water for several hours, resulting in a smooth and less bitter beverage.


Traditional summer drinks offer a delicious and refreshing way to stay hydrated and cool during the hot months. From the tangy aguas frescas of Mexico to the creamy lassi of India, each drink brings its own unique flavor and cultural heritage. By exploring these beverages and trying your hand at making them at home, you can enjoy a taste of tradition while beating the summer heat.

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