Summer! When the afternoon sun launches its blistering attack. Time then to don a snazzy hat, get into your shorts and go on a liquid diet. And what better way than to chill with some really interesting coolers. Ok, so they take some work. But trust me, they are worth it. Once you’ve understood the flavours, simply make them by the jug. For the lazy ones, there’s lots of ready-to-drink stuff on shop-shelves. Tropicana and Real both have sugar free juices. Real also has heath oriented carrot-orange and a mixed fruit/spinach/cucumber combo, which are both quite amazing. There’s a boom of low calorie flavoured waters and a huge range of imported juices too. It’s real easy to make loads of iced tea in all flavours. Simply  fill the pitcher with ice cubes, pour in freshly brewed hot tea, sugar/sugar-free and lime juice to taste, fresh mint leaves all torn up, et voila – done! Spice it up with ginger, lemon grass, cinnamon, even simply orange juice. If the sugar doesn’t bother you, flavour the tea with Manama crushes – strawberry, peach-apricot, kiwi, litchi, blackcurrant. Go desi with rose, khus or mango. Use low-fat milk for iced milkshakes. Zip iced coffees with dark chocolate, cinnamon, honey and nut flavoured syrups. Top with scoops of ice cream if you can survive the guilt pangs – butterscotch, roasted almond, chocolate chip, mint. After all that, here’s more!

Tropical Spice: Fresh pineapple chunks – of two slices Guava juice – 120ml Crushed ice – ½ glass Chilli & Salt rim Powdered sugar or sugar-free to taste Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with a green chilly.

Fruit Fusion: Mixed fruit chunks – mango, kiwi, litchi, strawberry Cranberry juice – 100ml Mint leaves – 4 Crushed ice – ½ glass Powdered sugar or sugar-free to taste Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with a fruit stick.   ,: Litchi crush – 30ml Fresh strawberry – 4 Coconut water – 100ml Crushed ice – ½ glass Dash of lime Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with a strawberry

Egyptian Aphrodisiac: Pistachio – 6no Figs – 2no. Honey – 30ml Yoghurt – 100gms Crushed ice – ½ glass Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with mixed nuts

Holi: Thandai syrup – 30ml Saffron syrup – 10ml Almond syrup – 10ml Yoghurt – 100gms Crushed ice – ½ cup Blend all ingredients until smooth. Garnish with almonds.   

            Ice Tea                                                                                                Holi Hai

A list of things that come in handy                                                           

  • Ice:  By far the most important ingredient for summer. Have plenty stocked up and make sure it’s frozen hard.
  • Various glasses: It’s nice to have different types – makes the presentation more exciting.
  • Cocktail shaker:  Some drinks need to be shaken for proper blending. If you can’t find one, a Nescafe or Complan shaker will do just fine.
  • Hand Blenders: Look out for the Braun/Bajaj 400 watts or higher, center detachable model- must have for easy blending
  • Limes:  They add that zing and freshness that can lift even the most ordinary drink.
  • Mint leaves: Very, very refreshing.
  • Powdered sugar/sugar-free:  Comes in real handy when sweetening a drink.
  • Stirrers, straws, cocktail sticks:  Add that decorative touch.

Important pointers that will put you in the professional league

  • Always put the ice in first. Then pour the rest of your ingredients on top of the ice. This way your drink gets nice and cold and nothing splashes out of the glass.
  • You could freeze fresh/tetrapacked juices in ice trays to get fruit ice. They look exotic and enhance the flavour of your drink.
  • Always garnish a drink irrespective of whether it is alcoholic or not. It shows just that bit of class.
  • Make sure that the glasses are spotless and not chipped.