Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Supercool Healthy Drinks

Choosing drinks for both adults and children during the summertime can be a minefield. Too much caffeine, huge amounts of sugar, dozens of chemical additives, artificial sweeteners and even too much fat sometimes. In my book 'Supercool Drinks Juices and Smoothies for Health', I give you the lowdown on what will keep you cool, comfortable and healthy in the heat.

As the temperature soars energy seems to drain away and even without summer heat fatigue and exhaustion are some of the most common reasons why people go to their GPs. Of course there may be underlying reasons like anaemia, thyroid problems, or other conditions that could be responsible, but nearly always it's a question of food and drink. Try these wonderful high energy coolers to help you through those energy-sapping days.
Read more here……..

Vitality Drinks:
It does sound like a lot of trouble but it's worth making double as it keeps for three days in the fridge. Tea on its own is energising but with bergamot from the Earl Grey, cinnamon, cardamom and coriander it's also a stimulating mixture. Just what you need to boost your flagging spirits on a hot humid afternoon.

Serves four
About 600ml (1 pint) water
5 Earl Grey teabags
4 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
1 tspn black peppercorns
1 tbspn coriander seeds
1 tbspn runny honey

Boil the water
Add the tea bags, leave for 10 minutes then remove
Break the cinnamon sticks into roughly 2.5cm (1 in) pieces
Crush the cardamom pods, peppercorns and coriander seeds
Put the tea into a large, heatproof bowl, add the spices and leave for at least four hours
Strain into a saucepan
Reheat and stir in the honey
Leave to cool before serving

Here's a combination of quick and slow release energy, essential nutrients, protein and fibre for a great energy boost. Surprisingly peanut butter helps weight loss and sugar cravings. Because they're broken down very slowly into energy giving sugars, the nuts and peanut butter help protect against diabetes. With the banana for more potassium and fruit for vitamin C and fibre, this is a vitality drink which is also rich in calcium and B vitamins.

2 eating apples
2 bananas
1 pear
1 heaped tbspn of smooth peanut butter
150 ml (5 fl oz) of crème fraiche
½ a tspn of cinnamon

Quarter the apples and pear
Peel the bananas
Put the apples and pear through a juicer
Put the juice, peanut butter, crème fraiche and banana into a liquidiser and whizz
Serve with the cinnamon sprinkled on top


This spicy variation on the traditional Indian lassi will give an instant lift to anybody's flagging vitality. The stimulating effects of ginger, the beneficial bacteria in the yoghurt and the digestive benefits of mint all work together to give your vitality a welcome lift just when you need one. Hot ginger and cool yoghurt and the digestion-soothing mint give this tangy smoothie a real kick.

4 cm (1 ½ in) piece of fresh ginger
250 ml (9 fl oz) of plain live yoghurt
About 10 mint leaves and four small sprigs
Chilled sparkling mineral water to taste

Peel and grate the ginger
Put the yoghurt, ginger and mint in a blender and whizz until smooth
Mix with the mineral water until you have the desired consistency
Pour into glasses and serve with the mint sprigs floating on top

Cooling Drinks:

Mint is a traditional ingredient of many summer cooling drinks, particularly the juleps of the southern United States. Perfect on a warm summer's evening sitting on the veranda in your rocking chair. All the mints have medicinal properties, and the Japanese have been growing it for four thousand years just to extract the menthol. Mint oils are still one of the most effective treatments for indigestion.

3 large sprigs of peppermint
600 ml (1 pint) of boiling water
1 level tbsp brown caster sugar

Finely chop the peppermint leaves and stalks, leaving two small sprigs aside
Use the water to make tea in the normal way
Add the sugar to the tea pot
Leave to cool completely
Strain and transfer to a glass jug
Chill before serving decorated with the reserved mint sprigs

This is a wonderful milk shake and perfect for children too as it has lots of nutrients. Use ingredients straight from the fridge and drink straight away as it may separate if left to stand. The crème fraiche and milk provide lots of calcium, the strawberries add loads of vitamin C, and this delicious cooling drink is also an immune booster and bone builder.

400g (14 oz) of strawberries
125 ml (4 fl oz) of crème fraiche
75 ml (3 fl oz) of full-fat milk

Keeping two of the strawberries aside, put the rest into a blender with the crème fraiche and milk. Whizz until smooth, thinning down with more milk if necessary.
Serve with the almost halved reserved strawberries sitting over the rim of the glasses


Watermelon is the ultimate in cooling fruits. Just the sight of them piled by the roadside is enough to make you salivate. Blended here with live yoghurt it's the perfect cooler whether you're at home or somewhere hot where the watermelons grow. Leave the chunks of watermelon in the fridge for at least half an hour before blending to make sure you get a cold smoothie. Protective antioxidants, calcium and friendly bacteria from the yoghurt make this a health protecting and a cooling drink.

1 medium watermelon
110g (4 oz) plain live yoghurt

Peel the watermelon and remove the pips
Cut into chunks
Whizz in a blender or food processor with the yoghurt

Fruitful Drinks
People do seem to struggle to get their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day - even more so for their children. One serving of this wonderful drink is nearly half your daily requirement but you get more protective free radicals than most people get in three days of their normal eating. Each glass provides 6000 anti-oxidant units and you only need 5000 for a whole day's optimum protection.

200g (7 oz) blueberries
200g (7 oz) raspberries
crushed ice

Wash and hull the fruit
Put them both into a blender and whizz until smooth
Serve in long glasses over the crushed ice

Slimming Drinks

Lemons are one of the traditional ingredients of fasting and detoxing regimes. Their juice is cleansing and mildly diuretic and this unusual recipe for lemonade produces four large glasses of deliciously cleansing drink. Infinitely healthier than anything you could buy and, thanks to the rosemary, it helps boost your mood and as a bonus improves the memory. If you haven't got a rosemary bush in your garden, now's the time to get one, even if it's just in a pot on your doorstep where it will grow very happily all year round. Keep the strained liquor covered in the fridge and dilute one part juice with four parts water.

For 4 people

3 lemons
1 tbspn of brown sugar
3 sprigs of rosemary
400 ml (14 fl oz) of ordinary tap water
850 ml (1 ½ pints) sparkling mineral water

Grate the rind off the lemons and put it into a saucepan with the sugar, rosemary and the tap water
Bring slowly to the boil, simmer for 10 mins and cool slightly
Add the juice of the lemons
Leave until cold
Strain and add mineral water before serving


Most commercial cordials are full of artificial chemicals including sweeteners in the sugar-free varieties. These aren't much good for you and certainly extremely bad for children. Here's the alternative and it won't make your kids hyperactive.

Makes about 3 pints of concentrate, but it will keep in the fridge for several weeks and can be frozen

7 limes
450g (1 lb) caster sugar
450ml (16 fl oz) boiling water
25g (1 oz) citric acid
5 lemons

Juice the limes and lemons
Mix all the ingredients together
Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved
Cover in airtight glass containers
Use about 2 tbspns to each glass of water

Restorative drinks
Kiwi fruit are a great source of vitamin C and other nutrients. Although real dairy ice cream contains some fat it's also good for bones - yours and your children's. You can even take it in a thermos for a picnic treat. Weight for weight kiwi fruits contain twice as much vitamin C as oranges and is high in potassium. It's also good for the heart and circulation.

2 fresh, peeled and quartered kiwi fruits
125 ml (4 fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
1 large scoop vanilla ice cream, preferably organic

Put all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and whizz until smooth

From Michael van Straten's book 'Supercool Drinks, Juices and Smoothies for Health' published by Mitchell Beazley, £10.99


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