11 Easy-Drinking Summertime Beverages

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A frozen frappe on a hot afternoon. A fresh fruit-infused smoothie in the shade. Quench your thirst with these refreshingly creative drinks:

beverages from Cocoa Cinnamon
Cocoa Cinnamon offers spicy lemonades only available at its Lakewood location. Photo by Leon Grodski de Barrera

MORE THAN A COFFEE SHOP …

Cocoa Cinnamon
This Latina-led, independently owned coffee shop offers differing menus at each of its three locations in Durham. This month, the Lakewood cafe introduced its limited-time Spicy Agua Lemonades and Aguas Frescas.

“We make aguas frescas in house with fresh fruit, and they are lightly sweetened,” it said in an Instagram post. “Our spicy agua lemonades … combine the refreshing fresh fruit agua with … sweet chamoy, spicy tajin. They are just a little tart.”

Blue Dot Coffee
Of course, we need to have some fun Italian sodas on the list. While the name would lead you to believe that the refreshing beverage, made up of seltzer and flavored syrup, originated in Italy, Italian sodas are actually a San Francisco creation. Dowtown Pittsboro’s Blue Dot Coffee offers nearly 30 flavors (and optional whipped cream on top). They can also make an Italian soda cream, where they add half-and-half to the seltzer first. You can combine as many syrup flavors as you want. Check out their new special every week.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews
This independent bookstore and Spanish-style chocolateria in Chapel Hill offers eight different chocolate beverages in addition to coffee and tea. That means more iced beverages than you can count, and funky takes on them, too. Try the iced rosemary latte or a sweet, dairy-free horchata, and then grab a book and head outside to a bench on UNC’s campus to soak in the sun and warm weather.

Liturgy Beverage Co.
Ever had coffee with lemonade? This Durham Food Hall vendor creates a few of one-of-a-kind drink options that you’re not going to find anywhere else (i.e. the Black & Gold slushie with cold brew and housemade lemon syrup or its summer soda with cascara, Szechuan peppercorn and lime simple syrup and bubbles) plus your classic coffee and tea favorites.

RESTAURANTS’ SIGNATURE DRINK SPECIALS

Chimney Indian Kitchen
Summer is host to so many fruits, one of them being chikoo. Also called sapota, the fruit has an extremely sweet taste and lends itself to desserts. Chimney, which opened on West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, offers a chikoo shake, made with chikoo, milk and sugar. It’s the perfect medium between light and sweet, so drinkers aren’t weighed down in the summer heat.

Zweili’s Kitchen & Catering
A glass of cold lemonade during the summer months is so classic. Zweili’s in Durham took it up a notch with its homemade blueberry basil lemonade. It’s just as refreshing as the original take, except you’re getting your fill of summer berries, too. Plus, if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, we hear it pairs pretty well with Bedlam Vodka

Goodness Gracious NC
This healthy Pittsboro hot spot, which opened in June, offers vitamin-packed juices and smoothies, perfect for on the go. Classic, green, blue and even mango lassi options top the list for smoothies, and unique juices like the Bruce Lee or Sweet Pea are just what folks need during the summer to keep up that health streak.

SMOOTHIES

The HOP
This smoothie and juice bar also just opened in Pittsboro in June and offers funky takes on protein shakes and energy drinks. Try an orange Starburst or an immuni-tea, or how about an oatmeal raisin cookie shake? At this spot, you’re likely to try an iced cold drink you’ve never had before – and it’ll probably include protein or vitamins, and sometimes both.

Sweet’s Smoothies
This Durham spot offers fast, healthy and affordable smoothies – the consistently well-reviewed service is just a bonus. It also has homemade icees, if that’s more your style.

SPECIALTY DRINK SHOPS

Yaya Tea (or Quickly in Meadowmont)
Bubble tea is the fad that doesn’t seem to fade, and you’re lying to yourself if you’re not craving bubble tea in this 90-degree weather. The drink, shaken with milk, tea, ice and sugar, is often served with large tapioca pearls called boba. Specialty bubble tea shops didn’t start popping up in Chapel Hill until a few years ago, but now there are several options around town, including at a few local restaurants. Yaya and Quickly are top on this list. For first timers, we recommend taro, Thai and jasmine (or honeydew, if you like fruity flavors).

Da Kine’s Kava
If you crave an end-of-the-work-day beer or glass of wine, try kava as an alternative. Kava is a plant from the South Pacific; the drinks made from its root have been consumed for centuries for their anti-anxiety and euphoric effects. As interest in kava has grown, several kava bars have popped up all over the country, including Da Kine’s, which just opened this month on West Chapel Hill Street – it’s the only kava bar in Durham. They offer traditional kava, along with chasers, kava cocktails, bottled kava, and classic coffee and tea.

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Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee

Hannah Lee is the assistant editor at Durham Magazine. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, she attended UNC-Chapel Hill and double majored in broadcast journalism and German.

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