Summer can be an uncomfortable time for most of us. Even if you’re doing nothing but laying on the beach or by the pool all day, the heat will still get to you sometimes during the day. And when that happens, you’re bound to reach for your old friend, the chilled beer, sugary iced cola, or maybe a deceptively mild-looking fruity cocktail, if it’s that kind of day.
Here’s the kicker, though: while those drinks can cool you down for a moment, their consumption will likely do more harm than good if you don’t keep your intake reasonable. And look, we know, breaking habits ingrained through years of repetitive behavior is hard. You aren’t likely to go from sweet iced drinks being your first choice of summer drinks to reaching for plain water just because you read an article telling you consuming sugary or alcoholic beverages isn’t good for you. God knows we’re neither the first nor the last to write about that.
So we propose a new tactic: what if you start by diversifying your summer drink choices instead of switching to water?
How Choosing New Drinks for Summer Could Help
It’s a known fact that we, people, hate making decisions. We’re highly likely to stick to what we know, even if it makes us unhappy. This behavior is ascribed to something called “status quo bias”: we might not be thrilled with what we have, but what if all the alternatives are even worse? Simply put, even when we’d consciously like to make a change, taking action can be unexpectedly hard. For no other reason than most of us operating under the mindset of “better the devil you know.”
So it’s understandable then that changing habits that keep us happy can be even more challenging. You’re not reaching for the bottle of chilled beer in heat because you have no better choices. You’re going for it because you genuinely enjoy it. What incentive is there to swap it for a glass of water, even if you know it’ll do just as good a job at cooling you down and provide much-needed hydration to boot? There’s no incentive to examine your behavior, not really.
That’s where new drinks come in. The purpose isn’t so much to find a replacement for beer (or cola, or juice) but to purposefully put yourself in an uncomfortable position of making new decisions every time you open your fridge. Constantly having to decide on what you’re drinking can help you break the automatic response to heat. You’re not reaching for a beer right away. You must slow down and think about which drink you want and why. Are you actually craving its taste, or are you just thirsty? Slowing down during the decision-making process may allow you better control of the choices you’re making. And if you take long enough time, you may decide more often that you just want something cold instead of something flavorful.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 15 drinks you should keep in your fridge this summer. Most of them, you could even make yourself, but if you want an easier option, you can always check out Yummy Bazaar’s selection to choose your drinks for summer.
We’ve already discussed how sparkling water is likely the best alternative to plain water during summer. There’s even a likelihood that it can cool us down better than plain water while providing similar levels of hydration (though more thorough research is required on that front).
But the real trick is that people have a favorable sensory reaction to sparkling water, unlike plain water. Where drinking plain water to many seems like a chore, sparkling water they may deliberately reach for. It’s all in the bubbles, so our mouths enjoy fizzy drinks.
If you’re not big on sparkling water, try the flavored options first. Fruit-flavored sparkling beverages without extra sugar should help out with the transition.
Do you like your drinks on the sweeter side? If you like coconut flavor, then coconut water may just be the alternative for you. No, we’re not saying this because young coconut with a colorful umbrella stuck into it is a summer cliche. We’re saying it because it’s actually better for you than you might’ve thought.
Coconut water that doesn’t contain extra sweeteners still has a nice sweetness to it to please your palette. It’s naturally low in sugar (unsweetened coconut water contains around 50% less sugar than unsweetened orange juice). It’s also a good source of electrolytes and provides proper hydration.
If you’re the type of person who cannot do without alcohol, try switching to more original options and swap your beer for Japanese cider or Ramune Japanese soda. They provide pleasant fizz, if that’s what you’re looking for, and come in myriad flavors.
If you have trouble letting go of alcohol, there's even an alcoholic version called Kuppy Ramune Chu-hi that contains around 4% alcohol, not much less than beer.
Remember, the trick is to make decision-making a conscious process. Swapping from beer to Ramune Chu-hi first, and then to standard non-alcoholic Ramune soda could be just the solution you need towards switching to non-alcoholic options.
Lemonade, especially homemade lemonade with a moderate amount of sugar, can be a great option to beat the summer heat! The secret is in acidity. Highly acidic (i.e., most citrus-based) drinks tend to stimulate salivation. Increased saliva secretion signals to your body that you’ve been adequately hydrated. Lemonade, combining the highly acidic effect of lemon juice and fizzy carbonated water, can be surprisingly effective at keeping your thirst (and thus need for more liquid consumption) at bay.
If you just cannot do without sweet soda in the summer, the trick is to find alternatives that will help with gradual transition without making it feel like you’re depriving yourself. Deprivation, after all, is the most successful way to ensure your own failure. You don’t quit cola cold turkey and straight-up transition to sparkling water. You start softer, like switching to Italian soda.
What makes Italian soda an excellent alternative is that 1) it contains less sugar than standard cola; 2) it comes in a lot of flavors, including cola; 3) it can be made at home to regulate sweetness levels and play with flavors.
Italian soda is, basically, carbonated water flavored with syrup. All you need to make it yourself are a bottle of club soda and flavored syrups, the kind added to coffee or used to make cocktails.
However, if that seems too much work, you can just check out the classic San Pellegrino selection. A tip: try to choose more acidic, citrusy drinks like lemon, chinotto, or blood orange soda. Remember, acid goes a long way in beating thirst.
Add a spoon of half and half along with flavored syrups to your club soda, and there you have it - Italian cream soda. In Italy, this drink is called Cremosa, and sometimes, ironically, French soda.
If you’re a fan of sweet drinks and can’t switch to highly acidic, more bittersweet drinks from the get-go, adding a little dairy to your soda for extra sweetness may pave the way.
Ah, how could we ever skip the old classic? If you’re a coffee drinker, then we know better to ask about your iced coffee intake during summers. We would advise, though, to either make a cold brew yourself or buy unsweetened ice coffee. The general problem with increased ice coffee consumption during summer is increased sugar consumption that comes with it (similar to fruit juice). Try sweetening your iced coffee with flavored syrups instead while slowly reducing the amount. Extra flavor from the syrup can help mask characteristic coffee bitterness better.
However, if your drink is half flavored syrups and half cold brew, then maybe you should work harder on cutting down on your daily coffee intake. Frankly, you shouldn’t do more than 1-2 cups a day, but we know better than to ask.
If your coffee drinking is primarily motivated by caffeine’s energizing effects (totally understandable, we all get tired easier and feel more lethargic in the summer heat), then try swapping your iced coffee for matcha. Matcha is proven to have a similar energizing effect, but without the caffeine crush, and it contains antioxidants as a bonus.
If matcha itself is too bitter for you, make a matcha latte.
Surprised? Sweet iced tea has somewhat of a reputation, and deservedly so. This section is not about sweet iced tea as made at MacDonald's.
We’re talking about homemade, low-sugar, cold-brew tea. Teas, especially lighter blends of herbal teas, are surprisingly good at beating thirst and cooling you down. And making homebrewed iced tea is easy! All you need to do is keep the tea submerged for 12 to 24 hours (same as cold brew coffee), and you’re good.
You can start with flavored black tea packets if herbal teas aren’t up your alley. They come in a surprising variety of choices, even with their own milk blend.
Taiwanese milk tea, or Bubble tea as it’s been more well-known recently, has also become a classic on the list of drinks for summer recently. Not a particularly great piece of news, considering how much sugar bubble tea is made with, but. It does have one upside. It makes you chew. That alone can significantly lengthen the process of drinking it, which can help you cut down on the overall consumption throughout your day.
However, if you want to take full advantage of the process, eschew commercially prepared bubble tea and make it yourself! All you need is some tea, milk (or milk tea blend, to make things even easier), and boba pearls, which can easily be purchased at Asian grocery stores (online, too).
Lassi is a yogurt-based drink from the Indian subcontinent. Classic lassi is made by blending yogurt, water, spices, and sometimes cream together. Namkeen Lassi is a popular variation made with added salt.
As it's popular in restaurants nowadays, Sweet Lassi is more of a milkshake than proper Lassi. It’s often sweetened with sugar, fruit, or fruit juice, and sometimes even butter for extra creaminess.
The yogurt itself is hydrating and acidic, so Lassi can be a great help with keeping thirst at bay. But as with most drinks on the list, you’re better off making it yourself. Just blend unsweetened yogurt with cream, water, and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric. It’s pretty easy.
Ginger ale is not a very good option if hydration is your problem, however, many find it a useful transitory drink when trying to wean off cola. It is pretty effective at quenching thirst since it does have the benefits of high acidity and fizziness. The big bonus is that ginger ale isn’t high in caffeine.
It is the taste of beer that you can’t let go of, not just the alcoholic buzz? Then try switching to non-alcoholic malted beverages first. Alcohol consumption can be extra dangerous in heat since it dehydrates you faster, so cutting out alcohol while still enjoying the taste can be a good compromise.
The same goes for cocktails. Suppose summer fun is strongly associated with Mojitos, Pina Coladas, and Margaritas for you. In that case, the trick is to switch to mocktails and cut alcohol without having to say no to your favorite drinks.
Flavored syrups can actually be a great help with this! Teisseire has a large selection of flavored syrups for professionals that can help accentuate the desired flavors you would otherwise get from alcohol (almond for amaretto, fruits for flavored liqueurs, and even a straight-up Mojito flavor).
Taiwanese Jelly Drink
This sweet herbal drink may sound a little unorthodox, but it’s pretty good at keeping the thirst at bay. Same with bubble tea, the jelly bits it comes with force you to prolong the consumption process and keep you from reaching for other drinks for longer.
What you shouldn’t forget while exploring options is that all these new flavors are supposed to act as transitory solutions to increased water consumption. It’s not about finding a new favorite (though what can we say, variety is always good). It’s about making your decisions a longer, more conscious process and eradicating automatic response to thirst.In other words, it’s supposed to stop you from reaching for a bottle when you feel thirsty and make you think twice about why you’re going for the specific drink. Do you want to taste it? Or are you just thirsty? If you’re just thirsty, you should drink water.