You'll be hearing from the staff at FOOD52 every other week in Too Many Cooks, our group column in which we pool our answers to questions about food, cooking, life, and more.
Today: Hydration, hydration, hydration.
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We've said it before and we'll say it again: New York in the summer is not "no sweat." It is, in fact, very much "sweat." When we talk about not wanting to turn on our ovens and sing the praises of no-cook meals, we really mean it. When we can't stand the heat, we find relief in the beach, the park, and our breezy rooftops—and we guzzle lemonades, cold beers, home-brewed kombucha, and cans of seltzer water like they're going out of style.
We asked the team: What are you drinking?
Caroline: I'm drinking switchel! It's a very simple, sweet-tart drink made from a little cider vinegar, maple syrup, and ginger, topped with water and chilled overnight. I feel very "Little House on the Prairie" drinking it, like I'm heading out to the fields to cut hay, but it is so, so refreshing. Like a cheater's lemonade.
Micki: I've been drinking a grapefruit rosé that I acquire multiple bottles of every time I go back to Boston. It tastes a little like juice, and it's super refreshing! Also delicious ginger kombucha (thanks for the SCOBY, Sarah and Ali!).
Riddley: All the mint cold brew in all the land. Seriously, I go through an entire French press in a day. That’s 32 ounces of coffee (32?!). Is 4 cups of cold brew excessive? Maybe. But I’m happy and decidedly keeping chill. It's a combination that’s mint to be.
Ryan M.: It's not something you can make, but I have an addiction to La Croix carbonated water. I can't decide if I like the grapefruit (or "pamplemousse," if you want to be fancy) or cherry-lime the best.
Samantha: I finally get to express my sincere hope that at some point, if MTV Cribs is ever brought back, and if I somehow have a chance to invite their video crew into my home (maybe a "small spaces" twist?) and show them my fridge, the shelves would be lined with cans of lime La Croix.
Jane W.: Samantha, Ryan, Jeremy—I'm with you on the seltzer thing, but my loyalty lies with Polar. Their flavors are so wacky it feels like a prank. I can just picture the brand team twirling their mustaches and patting each other on the back for coming up with "Boston Cream Pie" and "Irish Coffee." Think I'll stick with grapefruit and "Georgia Peach"... But good one, you guys. You got me.
Merrill: Iced "tea" made with fresh steeped mint, lemon and lime juice, and a whisper of maple syrup—over lots of ice!
Jackie: I have been obsessed with Harmless Harvest coconut water. It's pink!
Amanda S.: Budweiser! I am spending as much time outside as possible this summer (and every summer...) and pretty much nothing is as refreshing to me as a can of "Bud Heavy" packed in way too much ice when I am just about to overheat. If you get it cold enough, just one will last you quite a while—but a solid koozie, the really chubby non-collapsible kind, helps.
Lauren K.: Cold-brewed hibiscus tea with any sort of caffeinated tea mixed in—lately, I've been doing a mix with both black and green teas to diversify the caffeine content and flavor. I make a new batch every two days or so in the evening, and it's ready to drink the following morning.
Madeline: Ruby Redbird Shiner has been the drink of the summer for me. I've learned that I really want all of my beer to taste like juice all of the time.
Alexis: Lazy sangria = 2/3 grapefruit beer + 1/3 red wine + a splash of Campari.
Michael: My go-to summer refresher is bitters and soda. Preferred order of construction: (1) Ice, (2) bitters (lots), (3) soda water. Lime wedge if I'm feeling fancy.
First photo by Bobbi Lin; coffee, mint tea, kombucha, and sangria photos by James Ransom