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Fruit-Forward Drinks Are Ideal for Summer in the Brandywine Valley

Adobe Stock / fahrwasser

Summer is the time for banana smoothies, mango margaritas, strawberry milkshakes, pear martinis and more.

For those seeking a healthier lifestyle, smoothies have become as necessary as a rigorous workout. It’s no wonder the cafe at the Hockessin Athletic Club has a menu devoted solely to the queen of blender drinks. Among its two dozen smoothies, most are fruit-flavored and listed under categories like Lo-Cal, Kids and Performance. “Fruity smoothies are refreshing and sell well in the summer,” says chef Chihiro Oka, who’s in charge of the HAC cafe and once ran the Japanese restaurant Utage in Wilmington with his father.

All the ingredients in Oka’s smoothies are natural. “A local company provides us with fresh produce triweekly,” he says. “We use products that are gluten-free and vegan, with no GMO, no added sugar, no artificial flavors, no artificial colors.”

DIY smoothies and fruit-based beverages of all kinds are a must for summer. Think of all the fruit options at your disposal, from berries and cherries to bananas and mangoes to pears and apples to watermelon and peaches. Start your drinks with fruits that are whole, sliced, crushed, infused, juiced, fermented, blended or frozen, turning them into ices, tall drinks, cocktails and infused drinks. Or simply use the fruit as an accent or a drink topper.

mango margaritas

Frozen mango margaritas. Adobe Stock / fahrwasser.

The beauty of smoothies is that you can choose the amount of ingredients that suits you. Your only limit is the size of your blender. Two of Oka’s most popular smoothies are the Raspberry Recharge (unsweetened almond milk, banana, raspberries, vanilla flavoring, Get Energized supplement, whey protein) and the Fireworks (strawberries, lemon, blueberries, whey protein).

And while you have your blender out, you may want to consider something a little less healthy—like a milkshake using fresh (preferably) or frozen fruit. Simply blend together a half-cup of ice cream or frozen yogurt, another half-cup or cup of cow’s or non-dairy milk, half a banana, and 12 small or eight large halved strawberries. Or you can turn that blender into a mango margarita machine. Blend two ounces of tequila, an ounce of orange liqueur (Triple Sec or Cointreau), a half-cup of lime juice, a cup of ice, and a cup of diced mango. Salted rim is optional.

The beauty of smoothies is that you can choose the amount of ingredients that suits you. Your only limit is the size of your blender.

Though wine is the basis for many summer drinks, some can’t imagine any variety (except perhaps those that sparkle) in cocktails and other mixed drinks. Blueberries are a great fruit for a white-wine spritzer. Their small size allows you to sip your drink and eat it too. With spritzers, you can also choose your proportion of liquids, but a half-glass of white wine poured over ice with a couple of shots of seltzer works well. Then toss in a half-handful of juicy berries.

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