One of the easiest ways to avoid watered-down drinks is by freezing up cubes of, well, something other than water. It can give your drink a better flavor and decreases the risk of ice tainting a perfectly good drink. Here are six things you can freeze instead of water to keep your drink cool.
1. Fruit Juice: Fruit juice is the easy standard and it's a great way to finish off the last swig or two in a jug of orange juice. For a more beautiful appearance to your "fruit cubes" try straining the juice before freezing. (See Emma's pretty pink rhubarb juice cubes here.)
2. Blended Fruit: If you'd like to forgo the juice all together, just toss the oranges sitting on your counter that should probably be eaten soon into the blender. Pulse them up and freeze away. It's OK if you don't blend them smooth; the large chunks of fruit can be quite appealing.
3. Chunked Fruit: Some days you just don't feel like cleaning the blender (we know it's not hard, but we have been known to be a little lazy on occasion). So, rough chop or slice a pineapple, mango, or your favorite fruit and freeze the chunks in ice cube trays or individually on a sheet pan (with parchment paper). Who needs to dirty a dish when you don't have to?
4. Blended Herbs & Water: At the end of the growing season, our gardens and farmer's markets are busting at the seams with herbs. Pick up a handful (or two) of your favorites. Toss them in the blender with just enough water to blend and your next drink, no matter what it is (or what season you're enjoying it in) will taste of the summer bounty.
5. Blended Vegetables: Although they aren't the first thing you think of, blended carrots have to top our list for tasty ice cube treats. Most vegetables will require a little extra liquid (depending on your blender) and you can add vegetable juice instead of water to keep the taste strong. We've been known to make an occasional onion cube for tomato drinks, plus pickle or cucumber cubes — the options are endless!
6. Ice Cream: Although we don't suggest ice cream for your every day sort of cube, it can have its place in beverages that have milk or yogurt in them. Try using them instead of ice cream in drinks like rootbeer floats or pour a fruity lambic straight over the top. It's a fun twist without having to scoop!
Related: Cool Idea: Fruit Juice Ice Cubes
(Image: Flickr member natu licensed for use by Creative Commons)