Lemon slices are a refreshing addition to a glass of water and many other beverages, but if you need just a slice at a time, it can seem a bother. To have single slices at the ready, slice a few lemons and lay the slices flat on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet and freeze, then store frozen in a zipper-lock bag. This way, adding a lemon slice to your drink will be as convenient as adding an ice cube.
Here’s an easy way to create inventive summer drinks at a moment’s notice. Stir scoops of frozen juice concentrate—such as lemonade, limeade, and orange juice concentrates—into pitchers of iced tea or batch cocktails to taste.
When sweetening summer beverages, there’s an easy way to guarantee that there won’t be any undissolved granules of sugar left behind: Keep a jar of sugar syrup on hand in the fridge. To make the syrup, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat and whisk frequently, until the sugar dissolves completely. Simmer for 4 minutes, remove from the heat, and cool. For even more flavor, simmer one of the following ingredients with the water and sugar and keep on hand for your next party: ½ scraped fresh vanilla bean and seeds, 3 tablespoons packed mint leaves, 3 ounces fresh berries, a 2-inch piece of ginger cut into 4 coins, or 2 teaspoons grated citrus zest. Make sure to strain the flavorings out of the syrup once it cools.