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Refreshing and healthy summer beverages

July 12, 2018 | Heather Shannon
beverages 264 v2

Summer beverages, while delicious, tend to be sugar traps and calorie bombs.

Here are three recipes that are neither.

All of these beverages make use of honey simple syrup, a more natural sweetener that requires less processing than table sugar.

That said, it is still sugar, says Katie Rankell, director of the UCI Health Weight Management Program, so it should be used in moderation.

However, because it’s higher in fructose than glucose, you can use less for the same sweetening effect as processed white sugar.

Other benefits from the ingredients in these beverages, according to Rankell:

  • Tart lemons and limes are loaded with vitamin C, which has been shown to have anti-aging properties and aid in digestion.
  • Strawberries are rich in flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and can help lower blood pressure.
  • Cucumber contains tannins, which prevent the accumulation of free radicals and may have a role in reducing the incidence of chronic disease. If you eat them with the skin, you’ll also get more fiber, vitamins and minerals.


Refreshing summer beverages

Download these recipes ›

1 beverages 300 v2 

Ginger Beer Lemonade

Serves 4

  • 1½ cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey simple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 cup non-alcoholic ginger beer
  • Lemon slice for garnish


Juice about 5 to 6 lemons into a pitcher. Add honey simple syrup and stir. Check the taste and add more syrup if you prefer less tartness.

Fill a glass with ice. Fill halfway with lemon juice and honey simple syrup. Fill to the top with ginger beer.

Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Nutrition per serving

  • 62 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 16 g carbohydrates

3 beverages 300 v2 

Strawberry-Mint Lemonade

Serves 4


  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2½ cups lime juice
  • 5 mint leaves
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 3 tablespoons honey simple syrup, or to taste
  • Strawberry and mint sprig for garnish


Juice lemon and limes into a pitcher. Add honey simple syrup to taste.

Divide strawberries and mint into glasses and muddle.

Fill glass with ice. Fill half way with lemon juice, lime juice and syrup mixture.

Fill glass the rest of the way with club soda.

Garnish with a mint sprig and strawberry.

Nutrition per serving

  • 95 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 28 g carbohydrates

2 beverages 300 v2 

Cucumber Basil Sparkling Limeade

Serves 4


  • 1¼ cups fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey simple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 large seedless cucumber with skin, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 6-8 sprigs of basil
  • 1 cup club soda
  • Cucumber and basil for garnish


Juice limes into a pitcher. Add 2 tablespoons of honey simple syrup, adjusting to your liking.

Put two or three basil sprigs into glass and two or three slices of cucumber in a glass. Muddle together.

Fill glass with ice. Fill glass halfway with lime juice and honey simple syrup mixture.

Fill glass the rest of the way with club soda.

Garnish with cucumber and basil.

Nutrition per serving

  • 37 calories
  • 0 g fat
  • 9 g carbohydrates

Honey simple syrup

Add 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of water to a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until honey is incorporated. Turn off the heat and allow to fully cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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