It’s hot in London right now. H.O.T hot. Now I’m not complaining of course. A bit of sunshine is always welcomed and floating around the park in a maxi dress during my regular lunchtime jaunt is much more pleasurable than wearing jumpers and carrying an umbrella.
But being stuck indoors working, or equally commuting on sticky tubes and buses, during a heatwave is challenging, and what I’ve found myself craving more often than not is cool, refreshing, stacked full of ice, fruity drinks. Normally that means a quick trip to my local Costa for one of those fruity ice blends which set your teeth alive because they’re SO cold, which is just the ticket. But in a bid to save my daily £3.95 for better use, and make use of all those trendy glasses we collected for the wedding last year, I’ve been experimenting with my own cold drink variations. Because who doesn’t love an excuse to use a stripy straw?
And I’ve found a couple of winners that are just too lip smackingly good on a hot day, not to share. We finally invested in a Nutri bullet (or rather Asda’s Hinari Genie version which is a total steal) and this has quite simply revolutionised our lives when it comes to smoothie making and juice blending. It’s so quick and easy (and just as quick and easy to clean) that it makes a morning smoothie and a lunchtime iced slushie a breeze. And as such they’ve become my go-to for keeping cool most days when I’m working from home.
Both of the recipes I’m sharing were made using Innocent’s new coconut water which, for someone who isn’t normally the biggest fan of coconut water, is one of the best I’ve tried and has converted me to the drink. It might be to do with the fact that Innocent’s version is chilled at source (they’re one of the only brands to do this), which means it stays fresher for longer, and because it’s always chilled, they don’t need to add any extra nasties to achieve their cool coconut flavour. It’s quite literally just a blend of 4.5 coconuts and nothing else.
It definitely made an ideal addition to both of these fruity blends, as sometimes when I add fruit juice to a blended fruit smoothie, the flavour of the juice ends up overpowering the fruit I’ve added. Coconut water is the perfect touch and not at all overpowering.
The first recipe is one of my favourite smoothies which is one to whizz up for yourself in the morning (I particularly like it just after a run or on route to work if I’m feeling fancy) while the second recipe is the just the ticket for serving to friends at a summer party or BBQ.
You could of course, just as easily make these alcoholic and turn them into your perfect cocktail for girls night, but I chose not to for the simple reason I made them at around 10am one Tuesday morning for the purposes of blog photos… And drinking a whole jug of cocktail to myself in the morning when I’m supposed to be working could be seen as slightly unprofessional. Still the next time I make up this lemonade when there are more people around than just me, I’ll defo be adding a cheeky bit of somethin’ somethin’ to it.
Here’s how they’re done…
Strawberry, Pineapple and Coconut Smoothie
This recipe is for a single serving (if you’re using a Nutri Bullet or similar it will fill the cup) so double it up for two people and so on. It’s a delicious summery blend, and the chilled coconut water along with the ice makes sure it’s extremely refreshing on a hot day.
4 slices of fresh pineapple (it’s so much better in a smoothie than the tinned stuff I promise)
2 ice cubes
200ml Innocent coconut water (just under half of a small carton)
Simply chop your fruit and pile everything into your blender/ smoothie maker then whizz until completely smooth. (I usually do mine in stages so that the fruit is properly blended)
Garnish with some fresh fruit and the obligatory stripey straw
Berry and Coconut Lemonade
This recipe requires a little more time and effort to make the fruit syrup, but will definitely wow when you serve it up at a garden party or BBQ. Add a little vodka or gin for a tasty cocktail version or just keep it as a fruity alternative for the non drinkers.
1 pack of blackberries and half a pack of red currants (or whichever berries you prefer)
3 tablespoons sugar
Half a cup of water
1 tablespoon honey
1000ml coconut water (2 cartons)
To make the fruit sugar
Firstly boil up your fruit sugar – operate on the rule of 4 parts fruit to 2 parts water to 1 part sugar depending on how much you want to make. You won’t need a lot for the lemonade but I kept mine and used it in other drinks/ recipes.
I used 1 cup of berries, half cup water, and quarter a cup of sugar (about 2 tablespoons) – place everything in a pan and simmer on a medium heat for a good while until the fruit has softened to a jam like consistency. Don’t overdo it though as it will start to get too thick. You want it thick and runny.
Pour through a sieve and push as much of the fruit through as possible so you get use of all the berries. Discard the excess in the sieve and keep your syrup in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
To make the lemonade
Squeeze the juice of 9 lemons into a cocktail shaker and add a tablespoon of sugar, some mint, a tablespoon of runny honey and a dash of the coconut water. Shake the whole thing up until the sugar has dissolved.
Fill a large jug or container with plenty of ice and pour over a few tablespoons of your fruit syrup
Add the lemon mixture (be sure to strain through from your cocktail shaker so you don’t add any lemon seeds or battered mint) and then top with coconut water
Stir up to blend all of the syrup (and you can add more at this point if you want it more berry flavoured) and then top with slices of lemon, mint and berries.
Serve over ice.
Are you a fan of coconut water? And what are your favourite summer drinks? Do share your recipes with me below!
This post was sponsored by Innocent, but recipe creation and desire for refreshing drinks all summer long is all my own.