So often an afterthought at my house, every time I make one of these, I think I need to do it more often. What a fun way to bring everyone in the house together and make being at home a little special, whether it’s a hot summer day on the deck or a cool winter night by the fire – don’t save special drinks just for company!

Fall Spiced TeaFall Spiced Tea: This recipe is a family favorite – sipped hot or served cold as a punch, it is pretty incredible with its mulled spices, tea and pear juice. We often riff on this recipe, using what ever is on hand and it’s always good. If you have a friend who’s ailing with a winter cold or flu, make them this and pour it into a beautiful bottle with instructions to reheat in the microwave.

078Frozen Coffee Frappes: (like McDonald’s only better) Made in a blender with frozen cubes of coffee, a little condensed milk and plain old milk. Wonderful made with flavored coffee, and adults might wish to add a touch of a favorite liquor. Have them “nude” or top with what ever you’d like – whipping cream and/or a drizzle of your favorite dessert sauce. Your own frappes are pennies to make and a lot fewer calories – even using “real” ingredients. With no stabilizers, these melt so enjoy immediately. Best of all, these are only a fraction of the cost of a cheap, additive full fast food version.

Green SmoothieGreen Smoothies: Hippocrates lived around 460 B.C.; amazing, isn’t that we still haven’t learned this lesson – at least I always need to keep reminding myself! One thing I think I do right? I try to start off nearly every morning with a green smoothie – some hopeful family members refer to these “tongue in cheek” as Shamrock Shakes. In my own mind, I refer to Green Smoothies as “Pond Scum.”

025Horchata: I was introduced late in life to this lovely, light and refreshing beverage – don’t make the same mistake! Super easy to make at home from common ingredients, the only trick is the 12 hour soak. Don’t let that deter you, though. There’s nothing else to it besides a little blending and straining. Horchata, of course, is an ideal pairing for any Mexican or Southwestern meal. It has a comfort factor that’s rather unexpected.

Orange JuliasOrange “Julias”: A copycat recipe of the famous mall stand drinks, this is an intensely flavored smoothie that can be made in minutes. No waiting around for fruit to freeze, just use orange concentrate and you’re good to go. If you love the old orange push-ups, you’ll love these – or riff on your favorite flavors. Any flavor of a frozen concentrate will do, or freeze juice in ice-cube trays, etc. This are a hit at any brunch.

141Pumpkin Spice Latte:  A warm coffee drink blended with a little pumpkin puree and beautiful array of pumpkin pie spices. Amazingly inexpensive to make at home and far better than anything I’ve ever had while out. I like that this uses real pumpkin puree and therefore has just a bit of vegetable in it – while not totally redeeming, it doesn’t hurt! A big surprise? While meant to be served warm, this beverage is great cold the next day after a thorough chilling in the fridge.

002Spa Water on a Budget: I dislike waste immensely, and if I can find some use for something, I will. Add appropriate trimmings, seeds, cores, hulls, etc. to a mason jar, fill with water and place in the fridge to gently infuse for a day or a few. Strain and pour for a delicious lightly flavored water that costs absolutely nothing.

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