What is your favourite non-alcoholic refreshment?
July 24, 2007 7:33 AM   Subscribe

Help me rock the office potluck lunch! What's an awesome non-alcoholic refreshment?

We're having a potluck lunch at the office next week and I decided to sign up for refreshments. There's always been juice and pop at previous potlucks which I find uninspired. I'm looking for tried-and-true, non-alcoholic and creative refreshments for about 30 people.

posted by KathyK to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Grape juice sangria is always a winner with my clean and sober friends (sub grape juice for wine, same citrus fruits you would normally use, and add a cup or two of ginger ale for fizzy kick...covers for the lack of brandy.) Pitchers of mock-mojitos are a close second and while we're talking mint leaves, iced orange pekoe tea with mint leaves is also good.
posted by squasha at 7:43 AM on July 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

My favorite summer picnic drink thingie is based on Starbucks Passion Tea Lemonade.

Buy a box of Tazo Passion Tea bags and one of orange pekoe iced tea bags. Brew a strong mix of passion tea and orange pekoe - I use maybe four passion tea bags and six or seven orange pekoe (because the orange pekoe bags are smaller) in one regular tea kettle. Mix that half and half with lemonade, add some honey, and stick it in the fridge so it all gets nice and cold.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:44 AM on July 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

Elderflower cordial, sparkling water, ice, and a little lime juice -- yummy and refreshing. Maybe add some fruit as well.
posted by AwkwardPause at 7:46 AM on July 24, 2007

Fruit "margaritas" without the tequila/vodka (basically makes them a smoothie). They still taste helluva good without the alcohol. When I was a bartender, I had a number of people order margaritas on the rocks without the alcohol, so it'd be just lime sour or lime sour & orange or cranberry juice.
posted by jmd82 at 7:50 AM on July 24, 2007

I enjoy "Arnold Palmers" or half Kool-Aid and half Ginger Ale/7up.
posted by unixrat at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2007

Tropical smoothies . . . blend together 1 cup of pineapple juice, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 frozen banana, and 1/2 cup of ice. Yum!

Of course this assumes you have a punchbowl or some other serving device.
posted by leesh at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2007

posted by plinth at 7:58 AM on July 24, 2007

One of my favorite summer drinks is made by pureeing watermelon and mint. All you do is: Get a seedless watermelon; scoop out the flesh from half of it into a blender; add 10 fresh mint leaves; puree until smooth; strain into a pitcher; taste and add sugar if necessary; add some ice cubes and chill.

It's easy, healthful, and incredibly refreshing.
posted by cerebus19 at 8:00 AM on July 24, 2007

Hibiscus iced tea!
posted by methylsalicylate at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2007

Thai iced tea is delicious.
posted by infinityjinx at 8:05 AM on July 24, 2007

We used to drink what we called "Saudi champagne" when we lived over there, and it is apple juice and carbonated water, usually with nice little cubes of fresh apple cut in, maybe even some mint. Oh, here's a recipe for it.

It's really refreshing and nice.
posted by mckenney at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Basil Lemonade is very refreshing and more adult-tasting than juice, in my opinion.
posted by rmless at 8:25 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fresh pineapple juice with mint. Heaven in a glass.

I love watermelon juice, though I've never had it with mint (as cerebus19 suggested).
posted by wallaby at 8:32 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

There are a million punches out there made with varying proportions of ginger ale, juice, and sorbet or sorbets (or sherbet, but that is too too sweet). Raspberry-lemon is a great combination.

I make lemonade iced tea at home all the time and it would port nicely to a large gathering, plus if you leave the components separate you can offer iced tea, lemonade, or lemonade iced tea.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:34 AM on July 24, 2007

Second lemonade-ice tea mix, and also my favorite fancy punch:

1 can limeade
1 bottle fizzy water
1 bottle cranberry juice

I also freeze water and slices of lime in a jello mold and float the frozen block in the punch bowl - makes a pretty way to keep it cool.
posted by handful of rain at 8:40 AM on July 24, 2007

Coffee punch. I recently had coffee punch at a swanky brunch and it was delicious.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:43 AM on July 24, 2007

Flavored ice cubes add a cool twist. Freeze lemonade (or any other juice) in ice cube trays and add them to tea, ginger ale, other juices, etc.
posted by grateful at 8:47 AM on July 24, 2007

Iced Chai Latte! Definitely a tasty, refreshing drink. You need to buy a box of Chai tea bags. Boil some (about half a glass) and pour it into a large jug. Put something like 8 teabags in the jug, and sugar/honey/sweetener to taste, fill with cold water about two-thirds of the way up, and leave enough room for milk and ice cubes!
posted by alon at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2007

Mango lassi ... you will need a blender though. We add ice and rose water to the recipe.
posted by jamesonandwater at 9:26 AM on July 24, 2007

Virgin mojitos
posted by kables at 9:46 AM on July 24, 2007

Best office potluck punch I ever had (& it's simple):
1 - large can pineapple juice (the big one, like 1/2 gallon size)
2 - 2-liter bottles of 7-up or Sprite (diet works well)
2 - tubs Crystal Light drink mix: the tropical flavors are best like strawberry/orange/banana (but any will work)

-Mix all together. Serve. Increase quantities as needed. People love it.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 10:05 AM on July 24, 2007

Grandma's Punch:

Equal parts Hawaiian Punch, Pineapple Juice, and 7-Up. Use orange jucie to make ice cubes. Modify flavors as you see fit (I like extra Hawaiian punch, myself). Yum.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:35 AM on July 24, 2007

Dry Soda is pretty awesome, if it's available in your area (it's a Seattle-based company) - but may be out of your budget.
posted by puddleglum at 10:47 AM on July 24, 2007

Kombucha tea. Sounds strange, but really refreshing.
posted by solongxenon at 10:52 AM on July 24, 2007

Fresh limeade. Just limes, sugar, and water.

I usually put a little hot water in the jar, add ~ 1/2 cup sugar, then the juice and pulp (not seeds) from maybe 6 freshly squeezed limes, then enough cold water to make 1/2 gallon.

It's great, very refreshing on a hot day, simple, and just a little different.
posted by amtho at 11:33 AM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

For fancy, you can add fizzy water (mineral water, club soda) to somewhat concentrated (maybe double strength) limeade.

You can also combine fizzy water with grapefruit juice cocktail.

These are extra refreshing.
posted by amtho at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2007

Thanks for posting this thread, because I don't have a picnic to go to, but I'm trying out some of these recipes for a summer pool party!

Seconding any of the recipes with Hisbiscus, like Tazo's passion tea and Hibiscus iced tea recipe.
posted by misha at 11:48 AM on July 24, 2007

sort of like coffee punch, I guess:

1. get a toddy coffee brewer (it's a cold brew thing)
2. brew some coffee concentrate (takes 12 hours). Use good quality coffee.

3. mix 1 cup of the concentrate with 1 cup of milk (evaporated milk = even better) and about 6 cups of water. Add sugar or other sweetener, maybe 2/3 cup. You could even try condensed sweetened milk instead of milk and sweetener. All of these measurements are adjustable. To make more just multiply everything.

result: best iced coffee EVAR

I use decaf coffee, xylitol powder, and 1% milk or fat free evaporated milk -- the iced coffee is delicious and almost guilt free.

I have tried making iced coffee with normal brewed coffee and it just doesn't work very well.
posted by jockc at 11:52 AM on July 24, 2007

Italian soda: sparkling water with flavored syrup. Peppermint is incredibly refreshing.
posted by MsMolly at 11:58 AM on July 24, 2007

Root beer floats! Put a scoop of ice cream in a glass, and pour the root beer over it. Yum!
posted by happyturtle at 1:57 PM on July 24, 2007

Agua de Jamaica (aka Hibiscus tea, aka Roselle tea)

Also, one of the most delicious things ever:
Brew good jasmine tea in apple juice.
Add crushed mint to taste.
(this becomes much better with a few days in the fridge.)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 2:44 PM on July 24, 2007

Air Bandung:

1 part rose cordial/rose syrup
1 part condensed milk
9 parts ice cream soda/water

ok, by parts I mean this: put only as much cordial and condensed milk as you need to cover the bottom of the glass. You kinda need to guess and experiment with the proportions. YUMMY though.
posted by divabat at 2:52 PM on July 24, 2007

Cold Banana Bisque

1 can of evaporated milk
2 bananas
2 tblsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Whirl in blender, chill and serve. Very yummy.

This recipe makes four servings - obviously you'll have to adjust the ingredients for the crowd you want to serve.
posted by orange swan at 5:34 PM on July 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Lavender Lemonade! (because pink lemonade is so done.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:04 PM on July 24, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, thanks for all the great responses! For the potluck I'm leaning towards a twist on lemonade and iced tea, though, I'm definitely into trying some of the more creative stuff at home.

Thanks again!
posted by KathyK at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2007

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