O.C.’s Best: Summer Sippers

Beat the lingering heat of summer with these refreshing drinks, from raw juice smoothies to lemonade with a twist

The weather may be blessedly mild most of the year, but Orange County can really sizzle in the summer. When the sun’s blazing, you’re not limited to the ocean or a swimming pool to cool down. Try deliciously ice-cold libations from these seven places to slake that summertime thirst.

1. True Food Kitchen
The options are many at this Fashion Island haven for healthful fare. Ginger-lovers will dig the Natural—it delivers a potent jolt of fresh spicy ginger, agave, and soda. For an updated take on the Arnold Palmer, try the Green Arnie, made with matcha green tea and sweet honey lemonade. The most quaffable of the bunch, the Hangover Rx, left, will glide down your throat with its soothing blend of coconut water, pineapple juice, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. $4 to $6. 451 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, 949-644-2400, truefoodkitchen.com

Photographs by Priscilla Iezzi

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue. – See more at: http://www.orangecoast.com/dining/reviews/2013/07/22/main-course-carmelitas-kitchen-de-mexico#sthash.lflZgLKY.dpuf

2.  7 Leaves Cafe
Long lines are not uncommon at this poppin’ Little Saigon joint. Most of the customers likely are queueing up for the mung bean milk tea. Don’t be put off by the name—it’s jasmine tea infused with the pleasantly earthy and nutty mung bean, fragrant coconut milk, and pandan leaves. The taste? Sweet, slightly creamy, and a wee bit gritty, but in a good way. Fun fact: Widely consumed in Asian cultures, mung beans are purported to dispel heat from the body. $3.50. 9786 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, 714-590-2790, 7leavescafe.com

3. Nekter Juice Bar
Raw juice bars are all the rage. Their highfalutin liquid detox cleanses may not be for everybody, but Nekter’s Tropical Cooler will entice you nonetheless. It’s a blended puree of spinach, kale, pineapple, banana, coconut butter, and coconut water, which makes for an ideal, island-kissed smoothie: sweet, but not overly so—like gulping down a good-for-you Slurpee. $4.50. Locations in Anaheim, Brea, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, and Newport Beach, nekterjuicebar.com

4. Cancun Juice
For blended jugos (juices) and licuados (smoothies) without the pretense, head to this no-frills spot. True to its name, the Vampiro is an alarmingly red melange of beets, celery, carrots, orange, banana, strawberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, and apple—like a V8, but fresher and sweeter. The real standout here is the ChillyOne, a slightly pulpy and cooling combination of watermelon, lime, pineapple, and cucumber. $4. 970 N. Tustin St., Orange, 714-288-9882, cancunjuice.net

5. Lemonade
With a name like Lemonade, you have to serve the classic American beverage, right? The new “part lemonade stand, part grade-school cafeteria” at Fashion Island daily serves six versions of the mouth-puckering drink, with seasonal flavors. This summer, look for cucumber-mint, spinach-pineapple, passion fruit-pepper, watermelon-rosemary, and ginger-peach. The latter two are tailor-made for summer; what’s more refreshing than watermelon- or peach-anything in a drink?
$3. 401 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, lemonadela.com

6. Mil Jugos
This authentic and vibrant Venezuelan eatery offers more than two dozen kinds of fresh fruit juices. The fridge is stocked with an ample supply of apple, plum, strawberry, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, guanabana, mango, papaya, and tamarind juices to name a few. Ask for any of them to be blended—with or without sugar—or order your drink as a smoothie. It doesn’t get more straightforward or satisfying. $3 to $4. 320 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, 714-836-4601, miljugos.com

7. Tastea
Milk tea addicts get their fix at this Vietnamese shop where there’s a near-dizzying variety of cutesy-named drinks. It’s the medley of mix-ins and toppings such as fresh jackfruit, longan fruit, egg pudding, strawberry puree, mochi, and aloe vera that make the drinks pop with texture and flavor. The “specialteas,” prepared in a martini shaker, include concoctions such as the Peach Me Sweetea, tea with bits of peach and strawberry. $3 to $4. 10189 Westminster Ave., Garden Grove, 714-539-1832; The Outlets at Orange, 20 City Blvd., 714-634-2622, tastea.net


Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 issue.

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