Stay cool on the Fourth!

By Tina Wasserman

The Fourth of July is just around the corner and you are probably getting ready to fire up the grill at the ranch, beach, mountains or in your own backyard. In the past I have shared some great grilled dishes with you (you can check the TJP archives or my website But with the heat rising in Dallas, I thought I would share some delicious, cool drinks with you that are for the runner or outdoors person in your life but are easily made alcoholic for the adults when the need arises. Enjoy, celebrate our Independence Day and stay cool while doing so.

Orange Julius

Orange Julius

Oranges have been associated with Jewish communities for almost two millennia, when Jews and Arabs cultivated orange groves all around the Mediterranean. The oranges were originally planted in Cordoba, Spain. They were less sweet than present-day Jaffa oranges from Israel but were perfect for seasoning Roman dishes as early as 200 CE. And the bitter orange peel from that region’s groves was the “secret” ingredient in English orange marmalade.

Orange Julius does have a Jewish connection but only in name. In 1926, Julius Freed opened an orange juice stand in Los Angeles that was producing only minimal sales. In 1929, Freed’s real estate broker, Bill Hamlin, developed a mixture that made the acidic orange juice less bothersome to his stomach. Freed’s stand began serving the drink, which had a frothier, creamier texture. Hamlin named the drink Orange Julius and kept the recipe ingredients secret! This drink was so popular in the 1960s that the Orange Julius was the official drink at the 1964 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow, New York.

The following recipe is one that I have taught for over 50 years and is a very close proximity to the original. It will be very popular with the kids and, with the addition of a little vodka or rum, will be very popular with grownups as well!

  • 6-ounce can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup powdered milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • Ice cubes, 6 or more

1. Place the first 5 ingredients into a blender container. Add enough ice cubes to fill the container. Note that a food processor will not work because you need the air.

2. Blend on high speed until the ice is all chopped up and the mixture is thick and frosty. Pour into glasses and serve.

Serves 4 or more

Tina’s Tidbits:

• You can premix the juice concentrate with the sugar, vanilla and water but do not add the powdered dried milk until ready to mix. The acidity of the juice will make the reconstituted milk drink curdle if it sits too long.

• Pineapple juice concentrate can be substituted for the orange but heed the curdling factor.

Watermelon Sports Drink

(Adapted from Canyon Ranch)

I spend some time up in the Berkshire mountains of west Massachusetts. My home is walking distance from Canyon Ranch. Although many years ago I stayed at the ranch for a long weekend, now just walking up the steep hill on the road to the entrance is enough exercise for me! Recently they sent out a newsletter about healthy sports drinks one could make at home. I eliminated the recipe that called for Prickly Pear purée (although I think canned pear juice might do the trick) but I reworked their recipe for a watermelon sports drink that I think you will enjoy all summer long.

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon (about 2 pounds without rind)
  • 4 cups water 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup lime juice or to taste

1. Wash the outside of the watermelon, then cut off the rind. Cut the watermelon into 1-inch cubes. You want about 4 cups of watermelon cubes or about 2 pounds of fruit.

2. Place the diced watermelon into a blender and purée.

3. Place 4 cups of water into a large bowl; add sugar and salt. Microwave on high for 1½ minutes or until sugar is completely dissolved. Stir and microwave another minute, if necessary.

4. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the puréed watermelon into a large pitcher and then add the water/salt/sugar solution.

5. Add lime juice and stir to combine.

6. Chill until serving.

Serves 3 or more

Tina’s Tidbits:

• According to Canyon Ranch, “Sports drinks provide a strategic amount of carbohydrates to support exercise performance and fluids. They also replenish electrolytes to support proper hydration. Choose a sports drink when exercising for longer than an hour, if the environment is very hot and/or if your perspiration is salty and heavy.”

• Cantaloupe and honeydew can be substituted for the watermelon. However, if the fruit you use contains less water than the aforementioned fruits, add more water to achieve the right consistency.

Portland ‘Margarita’

If you haven’t visited Portland, Oregon, and you are a culinary enthusiast (I hate the term “foodie!”) mark your calendar for a visit. So much to see and do and EAT and DRINK! On one of my trips, we ate in a restaurant that served an interesting twist on a margarita. The restaurant obliged me with the ingredients, but I had to figure out the proportions. The following is my interpretation, which is great on a warm summer day.

  • 32 ounces grapefruit juice
  • ¼ cup wildflower honey
  • 1 cup tequila
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher. Make sure that you stir well to dissolve the honey.

2. Stir to recombine just before serving. Pour mixture into glasses filled with ice and serve.

Tina’s Tidbits:

• Caveat if serving to guests: Anyone on blood thinners can’t have grapefruit so ask and offer an alternative.

• Try maple syrup and nutmeg instead of honey and cinnamon for a change.

Jordanian Thirst Quencher

My travels to the Middle East always make me explore the cuisine of the region. A few years back I visited Petra in Jordan and stayed at the Movenpick Hotel on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. I had a delicious drink and tried to recreate it when I got back home. This drink is similar to lemonade except the tartness comes from tamarind. Exotic, different and thirst-quenching. Pretend you’re Mikey…try it, you’ll like it!

  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ tablespoons tamarind concentrate or paste
  • 1½ tablespoons orange blossom water
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar, or to taste
  • Sprig of mint (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher. Fill glasses with ice cubes and serve garnished with a sprig of mint if desired.

Serves 4

Tina’s Tidbits:

• Tamarind concentrate is preferable to the paste and comes in a jar that stays fresh in the refrigerator forever. The paste often comes with pits and bits of fiber, so I prefer the liquid concentrate.

• Play around with the flavors and the amount of sugar to meet your own palate.

Leave a Reply