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lavender mint slushie

Join me each week as I explore the naturally aromatic side of DIY.
Helpful recipes for your "scentual" pleasure: from essential oils, herbs, and other botanicals to soap-making, body care products, and other useful blends.

There's nothing like a cool drink to refresh on a hot summer day. Last week, we explored drinks made with fresh mint and essential oils. Now it's time to think beyond the mint.

Did you know that most citrus and herbal essential oils are sold to large food companies as flavoring? Hydrosols, which are the water left behind when plants are steam-distilled into essential oils, are also safe to ingest in small quantities when they're organic and top quality, according to Suzanne Catty, author of Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy.

Make sure your oils and hydrosols are organically grown and of good quality, then read on after the break for drink recipes -- citrus, herbal, and even some floral -- made with essential oils, herbs, and hydrosols.

Make a slushie(click thumbnails to view gallery)

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Jazz up that water

At San Francisco's trendy Coi restaurant, sommelier-partner Paul Einbund is mixing up hydrosol beverages. To a wine glass of water or sparkling water, he adds 4-14 drops of hydrosol, giving the drink the "essence" of flavor. Try this recipe based on something Einlund might do:

Rose Cooler
  • 8 ounces sparkling water
  • 4 drops organic rose hydrosol
  • 4 drops organic lime hydrosol
  • 1 drop organic spearmint hydrosol
  • 1 drop organic peppermint hydrosol
Mix all the ingredients well, pour them over ice, and enjoy.

You can flavor your water using essential oils and herbs, too. This recipe combines the best of citrus with fresh strawberries and mint:

Strawberry Citrus Cooler
  • 8 ounces sparkling water or plain water
  • 1 drop sweet orange essential oil
  • 1 drop lemon essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sliced fresh strawberries
Combine the ingredients and serve them over ice.

Pass the tea, please

Fresh herbs make great teas. It is more common to use dried herbs for tea, but branch out a little and try some moist, green, living plants. You can make a spectacular tea by choosing your favorites from these combinations:
  1. Steep into two cups of water, for 1-2 minutes or to taste, approximately two tablespoons of one of the following: fresh mint leaves (chocolate, orange or lemon varieties work great), lavender buds, fresh jasmine flowers, chrysanthemums, or red raspberry leaves.
  2. Strain out herbs, and add 1 drop of one of the following essential oils to your tea: sweet orange, lemon, grapefruit, or rose otto (in the case of rose otto, dilute in vodka first, like in the Lavender Mint Slushie (below), and use one drop of that).
  3. To your newly spiked tea, add about two tablespoons of one of the following: sliced strawberries, red raspberries, blackberries, lemon, orange, or lime slices, apple slices, or mango slices.
Serve over ice and wow your guests. The combinations are endless and enticing, so have fun creating your own special teas.

Blender dreams

I have a total crush on my blender, no pun intended, because my Vita-Mix can make mincemeat of ice cubes in seconds flat. We are talking snowcone consistency, folks... yum!

If you've got a good blender, try making a fresh slushie. There are step-by-step instructions in the gallery, so you can follow along.

Lavender Mint Slushie
  • 6-8 ice cubes
  • 3-5 fresh mint or basil leaves
  • 1 drop vodka (from 1 drop lavender essential oil diluted in 10 drops vodka)
  • juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons organic sugar or to taste
  • water for consistency (about 1/2 cup)
Blend the ice cubes into "snow," then add the lime juice, mint leaves, sugar, and lavender vodka. Blend and slowly add water until the mint leaves are pureed and your drink is a slushy consistency. Enjoy your cool drink.

If smoothies are more appealing to you, blend up some fresh fruit and all the extras....

Rosy Peach Berry Smoothie
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peach slices
  • 1/4 cup fresh berries
  • 1/4 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 drop lime essential oil
  • 1 drop rose otto vodka (diluted as the lavender in the Lavender Mint Slushie)
Blend until smooth. Add more milk if you like a thinner smoothie; use less milk -- or more yogurt -- for a thicker one. Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves. You can even plop in a few ice cubes!

What's your favorite refreshing summer drink?


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