Beverages are some of the easiest fair-trade gifts for summer giving. Since chocolates melt in the heat, fair-trade tea, organic coffee and decadent drinking chocolate are great alternatives that can be made into a plethora of delicious drinks hot, iced, or blended.
Sun tea is just about the easiest of summer drinks. I make an awesome mint/hibiscus sun tea, but it’s so easy that I’ve never made it into a real recipe. Here’s the basic idea: I use about a cup of dried mint leaves and about 2 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers to about a gallon of water (I like making big batches). Place the herbs in a large jar, fill with cold water, shake well and place in full sunlight for several hours. Give the jar a shake every hour or so. When your tea looks nice and dark red, taste, strain, and add sweetener if you wish. Chill and serve!
You can also make sun tea with any fair-trade tea you happen to have on hand. Tea bags work just fine, although loose-leaf tea is always better. Just be sure to make it strong enough (add more tea or tea bags than you think you need). There’s nothing worse than weak tea, and don’t worry about your tea getting too strong, you can always water it down.
Nothing says summer like lemonade, especially the homemade kind. Here’s Allison’s easy lemonade recipe. (If you’ve never heard of stevia, ask someone at your local health food store. It’s a great alternative to sugar, especially for sweetening liquids. But be careful, it’s potent!):
What to use…
Juice of 4 lemons, freshly squeezed
6 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia sweetener (or sugar to taste)
2 lemons, cut into 6 slices each
In a large pitcher, combine lemon juice, water and stevia. Chill for two hours. Serve in tall glasses filled with ice, and garnish with lemon slices.
What’s your favorite summer drink?