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DIY Kosher - Delicious Summer Drinks for Shabbat

watermelon lemonade

Forget about those pre-packaged drink mixes and wow your guests with these fresh homemade iced tea and punch drink recipes.

Summer is my favorite season for entertaining on Shabbat. Since the afternoon lazily passes by, lunch becomes an unhurried affair full of good food and conversation—quite different from the winter rush when we barely finish dessert before the sky gets dark.

To augment the leisureliness of Shabbat lunch in the summer, I like to enhance the mood by serving a special beverage. While guests may have finished the challah and licked the cholent bowl clean, what they really love is a pitcher filled with a refreshingly cool homemade drink, as in something other than iced tea from a mix.

gingered fruit punch

Gingered Fruit Punch

Surprisingly simple to prepare and easy to make in advance, the best beverages can be made from the comfort of the kitchen. My favorites include agua fresca, a Mexican watermelon spritzer; gingered fruit punch sweetened with honey and molasses; mint iced tea (brewed with real tea bags, of course); and lemonade that’s nothing more than freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and sugar.

One morning amidst the July heat, I remembered that the guests due to arrive at my home were big soda fans. Sans anything other than grape juice and milk, I noticed a bag of lemons in the fridge whose image took me back to the thirst-quenching lemonade I used to drink at the state fair as a kid. With that memory in mind, I mixed one part lemon juice to three parts water and sweetened the mixture with a lot of sugar, topping it with tons of ice and thick slices of lemon rind. In less than five minutes, I prepared two pitchers of ice-cold lemonade which had my guests raving.

iced green tea with mint

Iced Green Tea with Mint

Here are three recipes of cool drinks you can enjoy all summer.

Kosher agua fresca,gingered fruit punch, and iced green tea with mint can all be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Putting thought into the drinks you serve shows you pay attention to details; a trump card that will take your meal to a new level. And if you don’t have time to make a pitcher of something special before the candles are lit Friday night, do not fret. As long as you have lemons, there’s always lemonade.

Note: Making lemonade on Shabbat can be tricky, due to the prohibition of squeezing. Consult your local Rabbi for the proper method of preparation.