Ways to Beat the Summertime Beverage Blues

by Gina Blitstein · 1 comment

Being thirsty is not an option – especially in the hot summer months. Tap water is the cheapest – and most effective – option for quenching thirst. But most people, at least from time to time, appreciate some variety in their beverages. How can you stay pleasantly hydrated without spending more than you need to?

Let’s explore some beverage options to discover which are the most affordable sources of refreshment:

To Pop – or Not to Pop

Carbonated soft drinks are often on sale during the Summer months but they’re still a pricey option. If you’re needing a large quantity of soda (or pop – depending on from where you hail) your best bet is to buy 2 liter bottles. At a party or large gathering, they’ll get used before going flat and because there’s less packaging, you get more product for your purchase.

A new option for those who like some fizz in their beverage is a soda-making machine. Priced around $100 for a basic model, these SodaStream machines carbonate tap water. The company provides a variety of flavorings for you to add to create the soda of your choice. The initial cost of the machine includes an assortment of flavorings and a couple carbon dioxide canisters which produce the bubbles. As an ongoing cost of using the machine, you need to replenish your flavorings and periodically exchange the empty CO2 canisters for full one. Like a propane tank, the empty ones are exchanged for full ones at a cheaper price than purchasing a new canister. Depending on where you live, this may not be convenient. Overall, however, if carbonation is a deal-breaker for your Summertime drinks, a soda machine can fill your needs and provide savings in the long run.

Mix it Up!

Even if not carbonated, flavored beverages are a popular choice for Summertime drinking. Bear in mind that any type of pre-mixed beverage is more costly than ones you mix yourself. You’ll get many more ounces of, say, grape drink or fruit punch, if you mix it with your own water and sweetener of your choice.

Recipes for Savings

It’s very easy to make your own classic Summertime drinks. Here’s a couple basic recipes:

Lemonade (courtesy Paula Deen, foodnetwork.com)

2 cups sugar (my note: you need not use sugar – use the sweetener of your choice)
1 cup hot water
2 cups fresh lemon juice (my note: you could use bottled)
1 gallon cold water
1 lemon, sliced
Mint sprigs, for garnish

In a 1 gallon container, place sugar and hot water, and stir until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice and cold water to render 1 gallon. Stir until well mixed. Pour lemonade over glasses of ice, squeeze slice of lemon on top of each, and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Iced Tea

1 gallon water
16 – 20 tea bags of your choice

Sun Tea – Fill a gallon jar with water; add tea bags. Sit jar in sun for at least 4 hours. Remove bags, chill, serve over ice.
Traditional Iced Tea – Add tea bags to ½ gallon boiling water. Steep 5 minutes. Remove bags. When tea reaches room temperature, pour in gallon jar; fill jar to top with cool water. Chill, serve over ice.

Add variety to those basic recipes by adding fresh slices of lemon, lime or orange, fruit juice or mint leaves…

Freezing any of your beverages into ice cube trays can add a splash of flavor to any beverage without diluting the flavor. Try flavored cubes in your water!

Remember – filtered water is much cheaper than bottled!

Enjoy your hydration and don’t spend more than you need to!

What inexpensive Summer beverages do you enjoy?

Bonus Tip:

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

hwertz October 31, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Two tips for those who are hooked on soda:
Do please look at what you are buying and what you are spending! I have a few friends who CONSTANTLY buy 20 ounce sodas. Well, even when they are on sale for “only” 99 cents, that’s almost $2 a liter. I get 2 liters of generic orange soda or generic Mt. Dew for 75 cents, or less if they’re on sale. That is less than ONE FIFTH the unit cost! (I also don’t drink tons of soda so a 2 liter lasts weeks.)

My other tip (especially in summer), when I do drink a glass of soda I like to use LOTS of ice, like cubes almost all the way up the glass. With that much ice, the ice doesn’t melt too fast and water down the soda, so you have a nice, cold, refreshing glass of soda. Due to all the ice, you’re really only drinking like a half glass but it seems like a full one and is very refreshing. Then a while later when the ice DOES start melting, you have a nice cold glass of water. This only works if your ice isn’t gross though 😎

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