Puree berries, peaches or mangoes to make vibrant "syrups" for swirling with ice cream and sparkling water. (Or skip the ice cream to make refreshing fresh-fruit sodas.)
The fastest way to downgrade a margarita (or any drink) isn't cheap tequila; it's bottled lime juice. Dig out that squeezer and pull up your sleeves. It's worth it.
Using Darjeeling tea imparts floral notes beyond what you find in ordinary black tea, which makes it a more interesting base for this refreshing, honey-laced drink. Keep the punch virgin, or add a tablespoon of vodka, gin or bourbon to each glass.
Here's a new take on a summer staple, lemonade. Combine homemade lemon syrup with watermelon juice and serve with fun Kiwi Cubes or Watermelon Cubes (or with regular ice cubes). You can also use the watermelon-lemonade mix as the base for a Watermelon Martini.
Watermelon Lemonade 
Have you heard of limoncello? You can make the classic Italian liqueur with almost any citrus fruit. (Only lime doesn't work.) Serve the chilled liqueur with sparkling water, sip it chilled alongside chocolate truffles or try drizzling it over strawberries for a boozy pound cake topper.
Citrus Liqueur 
Brew this refreshing drink with green, ginkgo or ginseng tea mixed with honey. When the liquid cools, stir in your choice of fruit juices, such as orange or tangerine and lemon or lime. Add assorted fresh fruit and plain or flavored sparkling water just before serving.
Green Tea Soda 
This fizzy pink drink is a kid-friendly, real-fruit alternative to bottled pop. For an adults-only version, add two tablespoons of rum, tequila or citrus-infused vodka to each serving or 1 to 1 1/4 cups to the batch.
Cucumbers add a fresh take to a traditional summer-cocktail favorite. Just blend with tequila and triple sec and serve in a salt-rimmed glass and garnish with a lime, if you’d like.
Lime and Cucumberita 
Blend spiced coffee with chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla or coffee ice cream for a smooth drink that's served like a milk shake. Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate curls, a sprinkle of cocoa powder or a chocolate-covered espresso bean.
Traditionally, this sweet drink is made by soaking rice (and sometimes blanched almonds, too) overnight in water, then pureeing and straining the mixture. We kept the seductively sweet, authentic taste, but skipped the drawn-out process. Our shortcut version uses purchased rice milk, and we could barely tell it apart from the real deal in side-by-side tests.
You don't have to set aside hot cocoa comfort in the summer just because the temperature climbs. We mixed up a cocoa concentrate, then added ice, flavorings and whipped topping or ice cream to create a comfort cooler.
Iced Cocoa 
Frozen limeade, grapefruit juice and orange juice make a low-calorie mocktail that tastes like a margarita without the alcohol. Add salt or sugar to the rim and garnish with a lime wedge for the full effect.
Mock Margarita 
The coffee-chocolate blend in this drink is refreshingly cool, especially when topped with scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream. The amounts we give will make about 10 individual floats.
Mocha Floats 
This quick-and-easy blender drink, from the Michigan Cherry Committee, combines cherries, milk, yogurt, blueberries or raspberries, juice concentrate, honey and vanilla.
The recipe for this party-perfect homemade lemonade includes mint, raspberry and ginger variations. You can also add 2-3 tablespoons of vodka, gin, rum or tequila, if you like. A festive way to serve the lemonade is over fruit and colorful edible flowers frozen in ice cubes.
Another great recipe for a party is Homemade Ginger Ale Summer Sodas, made with a ginger syrup base.