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Nonalcoholic Drinks continued...

Iced tea comes in second. Cross recommends making a sugar syrup that's half sugar and half water -- boiled until it's clear -- and then let it cool. "Use this in it instead of that granulated sugar that falls to the bottom," she says. "You will use less sugar." Green tea is also a refreshing iced variety, although recent studies put in doubt its purported powers as an antioxidant. You can also make iced tea with garden herbs, such as rosemary or lemon verbena.

If you don't want to heat up the house, make sun tea. Put a clean glass jug full of water and tea bags in the sun for half a day. Be sure everything is clean, because this never gets hot enough to kill organisms. But it also is never so hot it melts the ice.

Pomegranate juice is loaded with antioxidants. It goes well with fruit, club soda, and if you must, any clear alcohol.

Any full-sugar soda is a poor summer choice, Cross says. A soft drink can contain 16 teaspoons of sugar -- and that sneaky corn sugar, at that. Sugar makes you thirstier. All sodas, even diet, she says, contain a lot of chemicals that do nothing for you. "I do like soda for cleaning stuck-on pots," she says. "Just soak overnight!"

"Summer drinks," muses Blue, "should have plenty of ice, fruit juice, and sparkle."

Cheers to that!

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