Cool Down with Asian-Inspired Summer Drinks

Thai Iced Tea (Alexander Koste/Flickr)

By Lea McLellan

Next time you host a cocktail party, or are simply looking for alternatives to your typical go-to drink, try adding some Asian flavors like Thai basil or yuzu juice to your grocery list. As summer continues to heat up, more people are cooling down with delicious Asian-inspired beverages and cocktails. Mixologists in cities all over the world are creating fun new drinks with Asian twists, but cool Asian cocktails aren't just for the experts. Traditional ingredients like lychee, lemongrass, and green tea get updated in these creative recipes you can make at home.

Kumquat Mohito

The mohito is a summer standby, and for good reason. This new take on the classic mohito keeps the cooling mint, but swaps traditional limes for kumquats and kalamansi, both citrus fruits native to South Asia.

Summer Solstice Sake Sparkler

This recipe suggests placing a pair of chopsticks in the glass to pick out the bits of chilled cucumber and orange wedges. Why not? We like a drink that doubles as a snack.

Thai Boxer

This drink is a little on the complicated side, but we promise it will be well worth the muddling. Key ingredients include Thai basil, vanilla rum, coconut milk, and chilled ginger beer.

Tom Yum Gimlet

It may be difficult to imagine Tom Yum, the traditional Thai soup, translated into a tasty cocktail. But for adventurous drinkers, this spicy lemongrass and vodka mix could be right up your alley.

Sour Cherry Yuzu Bellinis

This sparkling champagne-based drink takes its Asian inspiration from yuzu juice. Yuzu is a bumpy skinned, sour Japanese fruit that resembles a lemon. Yuzu juice can be tough to find outside of Asia, but will be worth the search. The taste is close to tangerine juice mixed with lime.

Chai Tea Smoothie

This isn't your mother's strawberry banana smoothie. This non-alcoholic drink takes everything good about chai tea and outfits it for summer, cardamom and all.

Asian Pear Martini

This drink combines sake, brandy, and pear nectar and is a favorite at Japonais restaurant in Chicago. Top your glass with a pear wedge and you have yourself a lounge-worthy beverage at home.

Watermelon Soju

Soju is a traditional Korean liquor typically distilled from grain or sweet potato. This recipe calls for blending an entire watermelon, making it the perfect refreshment for larger groups. Korean barbeque, anyone?

Green Tea-ni

Cutesy name aside, this simple drink hops on the green tea bandwagon to make a crisp and clean tasting martini. Who doesn't want some antioxidants with their vodka?

Lychee Martini

It's difficult to go to any Asian bar or lounge these days and not find some variant on a lychee martini. These bite-sized, delicate and sweet fruits are so popular in China and Southeast Asia, they deserve to come out of their western anonymity.

Thai Iced Tea

Thai iced tea is a favorite at Thai restaurants everywhere, but that doesn't mean that you can't make this super easy, non-alcoholic drink for yourself at home.

Also try: DIY Bubble Tea