Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
TIP To turn fruit drinks into thicker smoothies, freeze the fruit and puree it in the blender.
Allow mashed fruit and mint to sit a while to intensify the flavor.
5 tablespoons superfine sugar
24 ounces club soda, divided
2/3 cup mint leaves, divided
2 1/2 cups blackberries, divided
1. Combine sugar and 1/4 cup of club soda in bowl; stir to dissolve sugar. Add half the mint and half the blackberries and mash with back of a spoon until it forms chunky paste. Place in bottom of 4 glasses; top with ice.
2. Add remaining club soda and drop in the remaining mint and blackberries (reserving 4 for garnish, if desired) and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings
Nutrition for each serving 83 calories, 2 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 1 g fat, nosaturated fat, 5 mg sodium
To make a slushy, freeze the coconut water in ice-cube trays before puréeing with melon.
4 cups watermelon chunks
2 cups unsweetened coconut water
1 tablespoon basil
Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree. Serve over ice. Makes 4 servings
Nutrition for each serving 68 calories, 1 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, no fat, 23 g sodium
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 (3-inch) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup peach nectar
2 peaches, cut into thin slices
2 cups club soda
1. Combine sugar, water and ginger in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer; cover and simmer gently 30 minutes. Strain, discarding solids, and cool.
2. Place several ice cubes in each of 4 glasses; pour in one-fourth of the cooled ginger syrup and the nectar. Add the peach slices and top each with club soda. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings
Nutrition for each serving 184 calories, 1 g protein, 52 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, no fat or sodium