There is nothing better than the rest and relaxation that comes with the summer cottage life. No schedule, filling your days with endless outdoor activities, and simply basking in the sun. What most of us don’t realize, is that the daily liquids we are consuming in the summer can account for a significant amount added calories and surprising weight gain.

This summer, why not shake it up a little and try these fun and delicious thirst quenchers that keep your weight gain at bay?

Not only has the world come out with better tea flavours and entertaining tea commercials, but tea is officially awesome for your health and can apparently boost exercise endurance and increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel. It hydrates, helps fight free radicals, and has been linked to fighting a myriad of diseases.

Jennifer Commins, Owner and Tea Sommelier of Pluck Teas, a modern loose-leaf Canadian tea company, knows first hand how to concoct impressive and appetizing spins on your classic tea experience. The teas are impressive to look at and I can’t help but well up with pride knowing that their ingredients are locally sourced from Prince Edward County and the Niagara region, near where I grew up.

So what are you waiting for? Try some of these refreshing treats!

VERBENA BLUES

You really can’t even consider this one a recipe as the tea does it all! Move over Starbucks, there is another Unicorn in town and it delivers amazing taste without the sugar hang over or barista meltdowns. It’s so simple, you can create your own creative and colourful treat!

Directions

  1. Steep 1 tsp tea in freshly boiled water for 10 minutes.  Strain.
  2. Pour over ice and add a splash of soda, if desired.
  3. Add a squeeze of lemon and watch the colour change.

Optional:  Add honey to the tea while still warm to balance the tartness of the lemon.

SOUTHBROOK BERRY ARNOLD PALMER

The Arnold Palmer is a simple, virgin drink of half lemonade, half iced tea. It’s sweet and tart, refreshing and a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Our version is all that and way more. We start with our Southbrook Berry Tea, add a serious dose of fresh lemon juice and a few fresh raspberries. And because it’s not too sweet, it’s a fantastic starting point for a cocktail; we think vodka – natural, lemon, or raspberry, or white rum would be great choices.

Better make a big batch, this stuff is good!

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ tsp (10 g) Southbrook Berry Tea
  • 4 cups (1 L) just boiled water
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups (500 mL) cold water
  • Fresh raspberries for garnishing

Directions

  1. Into a heat-proof jug or tea pot add the tea, sugar, and hot water.
  2. Allow to steep for 15 minutes; stir to dissolve the sugar, then strain through a fine sieve into either a serving jug or container with lid.
  3. Add the lemon juice, cold water, stir, and chill.
  4. To serve, fill glass with juice cubes and a few fresh raspberries, top up with iced tea.
  5. Makes about 8 cups (2 L)

GOING GREEN

Not only is it a hydrator, but green tea is also known to help with fat burning and improved muscle endurance to keep you feeling better throughout your day! Some research even shows tea may help provide protection from ultraviolet rays (not to be confused with using actual sunscreen).

Ingredients

  • Your favourite green tea
  • Honey
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Seasonal fruits for garnishing

Directions

  1. Steep green tea as usual.
  2. Add honey when still warm, pour over ice.
  3. Add a splash of lemon juice if desired.
  4. Garnish with whatever fruit is in season.

Note: This is what Ms Commins served Charles and Camilla in Prince Edward County. You can read more about that experience here.

And finally, my personal favourite!

ICED TEA POPSICLE

Hydration doesn’t always have to be a drink! You certainly can’t go wrong with these super fun tea popsicles. You will certainly be the hostess with the mostess!

Ingredients

  • Your favourite tea
  • Sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey to taste
  • Thinly sliced fresh fruit, berries, herbs, edible flowers, or yogurt as desired

Directions

  1. Brew a fresh pot of tea and sweeten to taste.
  2. Chill in the fridge. If you’re in a rush, make the tea double strength and add an equal amount of ice to cool it quickly.
  3. Pour the liquid into your favourite popsicle mold and freeze.
  4. To make layered popsicles, fill the molds a third of the way at a time, allowing each layer to freeze before pouring the next. Try layering tea with yogurt.
  5. To make gourmet popsicles, freeze the liquid until it’s slushy and then add fresh berries, edible flowers or mint leaves, stirring with a skewer until evenly distributed.
  6. Use a few different varieties for a colourful presentation.

For more amazing recipes or to create your own Summer concoctions, check out these amazing locally sourced Canadian tea variations from Pluck!

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Written by Dawn Joseph
Dawn Joseph is an Online Personal Trainer who focuses on form and function! She loves to travel and kite board. Train with her online or ask her a question here.