Drinks to help you cool down in this hot weather

SINGAPORE - The current dry spell has seen ponds shrink and plants burning up.

Dry weather is common this time of the year, but there is a longer dry spell this year. Little rain fell in Singapore for 27 consecutive days from Jan 13 to Feb 8, according to the National Environment Agency.

The arid weather is expected to continue for at least another two to three weeks, according to Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishan at an event on Feb 27 at the Marina Barrage.

If you are feeling as parched as the grass fields in Singapore, SoShiok has come up with a list of drinks to help you cool down and beat the heat.

For those who are too "heaty"

"Heaty" and "cooling" are terms used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to classify factors which cause certain types of illness, according to TCM practitioner Lau Kiew Teck in a Men's Health article.

Those factors can be food- or weather-related, for example, hot and dry weather can cause ailments such as dry and sore throat.

1) Three Legs Cooling Water

This TCM drink created by the Wen Ken Group is made of purified water and Gypsum Fibrosum (shi gao in Mandarin), and tastes like mineral water. The mineral is traditionally used to relieve excessive "heat" in the body.

2) Antelope & Rhino Brand Cooling Water

Also made from the same company as Three Legs, this drink has the added ingredient of Calcitum which is believed to have increased "cooling properties". There is also another version of this drink under the Cool Rhino brand.

3) Oldenlandia water

It takes a bit of getting used to this drink. Made with oldenlandia (bai hua she cao in Mandarin) extract, it tastes slightly mineral. The herb is also believed to clear heat and relieve toxicity. If you order this drink at a coffeeshop, don't be surprised if you are asked if you want to add salt. It is believed to help cure sore throat and is considered a "cooling" food.

4) Chrysanthemum tea

Brewed from the yellow flowers, the tea is believed to have "cooling" properties. The tea can taste a bit bitter on its own, so there are sweeter variations adding sugar, wolfberries and red dates. You can buy the flowers to brew on your own, buy freshly brewed bottles from Chinese medical shops, or packs from the supermarket such as the NutriTea range.

5) Barley drink

Barley pearls are boiled in water and sweetened with ingredients such as rock sugar or candied melon. The drink is also considered "cooling", and is also believed to help strengthen the spleen. The drink can be drunk both warm or cold. If you are chilling the drink, you can add a bit of lemon juice for a more refreshing taste.

6) Luo Han Guo drink

The fruit resembles a round ball and it has a natural sweetness. It is used in TCM for coughs and sore throats. If you are not sure how to brew your own, there are canned versions in supermarkets, as well as freshly brewed ones from Chinese medical shops.

 

For the health-conscious

You want to keep hydrated, but without the unnecessary calories that sugar-laden soft drinks contain. Here are some liquids that have extra benefits too.

1) Water

We tend to sweat more in hot weather and that can cause dehydration. Water has zero calories and quenches your thirst. It is also the cheapest and best option on this list. What more can we say?

2) Fruit juice/Smoothie

Some fruits are considered "cooling" in TCM, such as watermelon, mangosteen, pineapple, starfruit, and grapefruit. Get them freshly juiced or in a smoothie for a yummy and healthier boost.

3) Isotonic drinks

Kudos for not letting the hot weather stop you from going for a run. Rehydrate and replenish lost electrolytes with a nice chilled sports drink. These days they come in all sorts of flavours to suit different taste buds.

4) Iced green tea

Ice tea can contain a lot of sugar, so a healthier option is to make your own iced green tea. Steep a tea bag for a few minutes, shorter if you want a lighter taste, and chill the tea. Green tea can help to boost energy levels and is high in antioxidants.

5) Coconut water

The fruit section in supermarkets sell young coconuts, and there is a small grapefruit-sized version that is easy to cut open on your own. The fresh water is low in calories and according to WebMD, it has more potassium than a sports drink. Also in TCM, it is a cooling fruit.

 

For those looking for a brain freeze

You want to live it up a little and enjoy a yummy cool drink with friends on a night out. These ice blended drinks will make warm nights frosty - at least while you are drinking it.

1) Slurpees

The flavoured slushies from 7-Eleven comes in different flavours and sizes. Get a flavour on its own or mix up a few different flavours. While it is sure to give you a brain freeze if you drink it too fast, the drink is actually served at 28 degrees, according to 7-Eleven Singapore.

2) Ice blended coffees

Whether you prefer Spinelli spins or Starbucks frappuccinos, these drinks are a cool way to get your caffeine fix. Both also offer fruit flavoured ice blended drinks if coffee isn't your juice.

3) Ice blended bubble tea

A popular drink among Singaporeans, there are all sorts of bubble tea combinations with various types of toppings. Get it ice blended for an icy blast.

4) Frozen margaritas

Party people will love this, because you can keep cool while you dance the night away. Made from tequila, Cointreau and fruit juice, the drink comes in a myriad of fruit flavours. There is also a version with the ice cubes not blended.

5) Kirin Ichiban frozen beer

A nice cool draught of beer helps you cool down and unwind after a long day at work. But if the nights are balmy, go a few degrees lower and indulge in a frozen foam beer. A pint of chilled beer is topped with frozen beer foam created at -5 deg Celsius which can keep the drink cold for 30 minutes. It can be found at Japanese restaurant Shirokiya.

natlim@sph.com.sg

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