Chill Out This Summer with
Cool Picnic Drinks

Picnic Drinks

Refreshing picnic drinks can add the finishing touch to your outdoor meal. Not only are they really refreshing they are be an essential addition to a day out. Everyone needs plenty of fluids when they are out and about.

When you are out in the sun and the wind it is easy to get dehydrated so be prepared and take plenty of thirst quenching drinks with you especially if you are going to be active outside in the heat.

Here are some tips to make sure you take the best picnic drinks with you on your picnic

Drink Plenty of Water

Of course water is really the best of all picnic drinks. There is nothing like water to keep you hydrated on the hottest day.

  • Always take a large bottle of water with you even if you are providing other drinks. It is a good back up and even comes in handy to wash sticky fingers.
  • If you decide to take water to drink make sure it is cool. Adding ice cubes to water helps to keep it icy cold. Why not include some lemon slices or mint leaves for a little extra taste.
  • I like to carry water in an open mouthed thermos with ice cubes in it. The wide mouth makes it easy to get the cubes out with tongs or even your fingers.
  • Try mineral water. Its slight fizziness makes it extra refreshing. You will need to carry this to your picnic in a screw top bottle and open it just before you want to drink it so that it doesn't go flat.

Cool Summer Drinks

Although water is great it is often good to take some flavoured picnic drinks.

You can make your own drinks very cheaply and easily. Sweet or tangy, you can be sure that they will suit your taste and you will know that you are using real ingredients instead of synthetic flavours and colours. When the weather is hot there is nothing like chilling out with a cool summer drink.

  • Do not take drinks that too sweet. Long, cool drinks are best in the heat.
  • A lot of summer picnic drinks are based on fruit juices. Mix them with mineral water or ginger beer for added flavour. Remember to carry any bottles of carbonated drinks seperately to prevent them going flat. You can mix them with your fruit juice on the spot.
  • Citrus based drinks are particularly refreshing. Lemons, limes or oranges are slighty tart but all the more tasty for that.  Homemade lemonade is easy to make and is a lovely base for a lot of  drinks.
  • For something a little sweeter try strawberry, raspberry or watermelon lemon drinks.
  • Add some spirits or sparkling wine if you want to give picnic drinks an extra lift. If you are considering wine but do not want an alcohol drink, try grape juice instead.
  • Elderflower presse is another refreshing drink that you can buy ready mixed to drink straight from the bottle. Or dilute elderflower cordial with still or fizzy water to make a delicious summer drink.
  • If you are adding ice to keep you drinks cool freeze extra juice to make ice cubes. This way the drink does not become too diluted as the ice melts.
  • Ginger beer is popular to take on a picnic and there are several ways to make your own. It can be alcoholic or not as you like depending on the recipe.
  • Tea is refreshing to take on any picnic. In the summer try iced tea for a change. Add a slice of lemon or ginger instead of milk.

Drinks for Kids

  • At a kids picnic lemonade is a good standby. Kids often prefer sweeter picnic drinks than adults but most fruit drinks are suitable.
  • Slushies are great for kids  and they are easy to take on a picnic if you have a cool box. Crush the fruit of your choice or put it in a blender. Try watermelon, mango, strawberries or rasberries. Strain the crushed fruit through a sieve and half fill lidded plastic mugs with the mixture. Put the mugs in the freezer until they are really frozen. When you pack your picnic carry the frozen mugs in a cool box. To serve the slushies top up each mug with sparkling mineral water (they will have melted a bit by then) and slurp the icy mixture through a straw. Delicious!  We have lots of orange trees in our garden and often get a glut of oranges at the end of winter. We freeze the juice and drink it as a slushie when summer comes.

Alcoholic Drinks for a Picnic

If you are planning a picnic for adults you will probably plan to take some alcoholic drinks. They should be easy to drink and not too high in alcohol content. Remember that someone will probably have to drive home.

  • Take long drinks to quench your thirst. There is nothing like a cold beer or cider on a hot day.
  • Mix spirits with fruit juice to make refreshing picnic drinks with a bit of a kick. Check out the alcoholic drink recipes for some ideas.
  • Mix white wine with a sparkling water to make a wine spritzer.
  • Pina Colada is made with pineapple which is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. (Or maybe the rum has something to do with it! )        You can also make a Virgin Pina Colada without spirits.
  • If you are planning a special romantic or wedding picnic try matching your drinks to the theme of the party. If your picnic setting is pink try cranberry splash or watermelon gin fizz.
  • For a really special occasion a wedding, aniversary or proposal take champagne or make a champagne cocktail.
  • Hot summer days conjure up images of elegant southern ladies sitting under shady verandahs sipping mint juleps. The perfect summer drink.

Hot Drinks for Winter Picnics

On a winter hot picnic drinks are really warming.

  • Make sure they are really hot but not boiling! If they are too hot to drink comfortably they can burn your mouth.
  • Hot chocolate or cocoa can be carried in a good quality thermos that does what it says and keeps things hot!
  • Make the hot chocolate really rich and creamy. It is beautifully warming on a cold day. Adding a touch of ginger warms the cockles of your heart.
  • Soup can be a meal in itself served with crusty rolls at a winter picnic. It is easy to spill hot liquid so it is best to serve soup in mugs a a picnic. If the soup is really hearty you can use a spoon for the chunky bits.
  • Tea is always a good standby and really refreshing even on a hot day. It is best to make it fresh. Fill your thermos with boiling water and pour it onto teabags at the picnic. Carry your milk separately to add to your tea. It will taste so much better and the thermos will only need a swill when you get home.
  • Make coffee in a similar way. Carry a small jar of instant coffee or coffee bags and add milk and water at the picnic.

Dress Up Your Drinks

  • For romantic, wedding or special picnics dress up your drinks with pretty garnishes.Pieces of fruit or peal, mint leaves can dress up a drink and make it something special as well as adding as extra tang.
  • Freeze mint leaves, parsley or fruit into the ice blocks themselves or freeze slices of citrus peal to add to your drinks. Colour ice blocks with fruit juice.Cool drinks aa well as adding interest.
  • You can buy ice cube trays in many different shapes. Use hearts for romantic picnics. For a kids picnic party, use animals or teddys. For a Christmas picnic choose pine trees, bells or stars. 

Tips for Carrying Picnic Drinks

  • Keep drinks cool at a picnic in a cool box or lined cooler bag. Take plenty of ice or frozen cool blocks to pack around your drinks. Take a special cooler just for drinks.
  • Plastic bottles with screw tops are the most convenient, safest way to carry drinks. They are lighter than glass, they won't break and they are easy to resealed if necessary.
  • If you are going to freeze bottles of drink to take to your picnic remember that fluid expands when it is frozen so don't fill your bottles so full that they burst.
  • At a picnic drinks can spill easily so try serving them in individual bottles. If you are buying drinks Tetra paks are convenient and more or less spill proof.
  •  Any carbonated drink will go flat if opened too soon before you want to drink it so take a sealed bottle to the picnic and mix your drinks there.
  • Freeze a plastic bottle of water the day before your picnic. Pack the bottle amongst your food and It will gradually melt during your day out to keep your food cool. When it has melted and you can either drink it or use it to wet a cloth to clean dirt hands and faces.

Serving Your Drinks

  • Make sure your cold drinks are kept cold and your hot drinks hot.
  • Keep your glasses and jugs cool as well, if you can. Pop them in the freezer the night before your picnic.
  • If you are taking ready-made drinks to a picnic just pour them straight from the bottle but if you are mixing drinks you will need to take a large plastic jug with a lid, big enough to hold the finished drink. Pour your pre-prepared ingredients in to it and stir them together.
  • It is best to use plastic glasses at a picnic. They come in all shapes and sizes from wine glasses to tumblers. . They do not break like glass and are lighter to carry. They come in a wide range of colours to compliment any drink or picnic theme.
  • If you are having kids at your picnic use plastic tumblers with lids and straws to prevent spills. Have a look in supermarkets and speciality stores for re-usable drink bottles that come with screw tops and their own straws. Ideal for kids.
  • For winter picnics take thermos mugs to keep your drink warm.

Experiment with your own combinations of drink ingredients. Mix and match and try different mixtures. Kids have great imaginations and can have fun trying them out. Best to taste them before you go on your picnic though to make sure you like them!!

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