Saturday, July 9, 2011

Summer Drinks and Treats

One thing I haven’t even realized I’ve missed while living in Korea is the culture of summer celebrations in the United States.  I miss the 4th of July fireworks and the random barbecues that happen where no one really invites anyone, but everyone just shows up, and the food is still delicious.


This past week I’ve been remembering back to my teenage years, when I spent much of the spring and summer going to various celebrations in the different places where I’ve lived.  Between Fiesta Week in San Antonio, Cinco de Mayo and 16 de Septiembre in Tucson, to old-fashioned barbecues in South Dakota, there was always good company and great food.


This weekend my co-workers and I are having a gathering and we’re making Mexican food.  In addition to the usual taco bar that I like to prepare, I decided it would be really fun this time to try and make some cold summery drinks.  When I was deciding what to make, I really couldn’t choose. 


My favorite summer drink to make has always been watermelon lemonade, which I used to make with my mom back when I was in high school.  However, I don’t have a blender this time around so that one was out – I decided to make plain lemonade instead.


Then  there was the conundrum of not having enough lemons.  One summer drink that I enjoyed a lot when I was in middle school was horchata, a sweet rice milk drink that I used to have when I would go to celebrations of Mexican holidays in Tucson.  The first time I tried to make it was for my high school Spanish class and it turned out pretty poorly, so I was eager to try again for better results.


I still felt like that wasn’t enough so I decided to make 수정과 (sujeonggwa), a sweet cinnamon and ginger tea that reminds me of cooking Korean food when I lived in Minnesota.  Though it is most often served cold, I enjoyed drinking it hot with a dried persimmon or a dried apricot – the fruit would get plump and juicy in the teacup, and the flavor reminded me of spiced apple cider, which was more expensive to make when our family budget was much tighter.


So here are the links for the recipes that I was able to find on the web, and a little about them.  I hope you have time to make some of these yummy drinks so you can cool off on a hot day.


1. Lemonade

yield: about 1.5 liters)

This is probably the easiest recipe to make, especially if you can get the lemon juice without hand-squeezing it.  I bought some lemons at Costco for about 7,000 won and was really excited about the lemonade this time.  I found this recipe yielded perfect results.


2. Korean Cinnamon & Ginger Tea (수정과)

I used this recipe from Aeri’s Kitchen, my all-time favorite Korean food blog.  This recipe also yielded perfect results.  You can serve this drink hot or cold.  Normally I like to drink it hot in the winter time so the dried persimmon puffs up and is all juicy with the tea’s flavor, but this time we decided to chill and make a refreshing summer drink.


3. Horchata

This recipe for a Mexican-style sweet rice milk drink was hard for me to emulate because I don’t have a blender, food processer, or coffee grinder. I even tried using a meat tenderizer (haha) but that didn’t work, of course, because the grains of rice were so small that they stuck between the teeth of the tenderizer.

Also, I used short-grain Korean rice instead of long-grain rice and cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon.  Since I adapted the recipe so much, it’s quite different from the one I linked to, so I’ll write my own recipe here:


Danielle’s Horchata

yield: about 1 liter


1 C rice

about 3~4 cinnamon sticks (or 2 large pieces of bark)

1/3 C chopped blanched almonds

5 C warm water

1/2 C milk

2/3 C white sugar



1. Put the rice and cinnamon sticks together with the warm water in a bowl and set overnight, covered.

2. The next day, strain the mixture into a bowl and squeeze out all the juice you possibly can.  Set the rice aside and save it for a yummy breakfast porridge.

3. To the rice water, add the milk and sugar.  You may want to add less sugar if you prefer the drink to be less sweet.

4. Serve chilled over ice.


Horchata Rice Porridge

(This recipe makes a yummy, cinnamon-flavored rice porridge that you can make with the leftover rice and almonds from the horchata you just made.)


1. Pull out the cinnamon sticks or pieces of cinnamon bark from the leftover horchata rice and discard.

2. Place the remaining rice and almonds in a pressure cooker (or rice cooker if you have one) with 2 cups of water.  You may also add a handful of raisins if you like it.

3. Cook until done (that’s 5 minutes of wobbling in our pressure cooker, not sure how long for the rice cooker).  Stir in 1 cup of milk with the hot rice and mix together until the milk is absorbed.

4. Add sugar to taste. (I just serve without sugar and let each person add sugar to their own bowl)


So there you are!  Enjoy these sweet, summery drinks cold with ice, or you can freeze them into popsicles.  A cool drink is a good way to enjoy the summer and it also really brings back memories in my case. ^^


Fauna said...

Hi, I never ever make drinks but your blog has got me to thinking I should try it out.^^ Thanks for sharing.

Lolimahro said...

Thanks Fauna! I hope you enjoy whatever you make! I like this recipe for watermelon lemonade also:

It's great if you end up with a ton of watermelon and you can't eat it all. ^^