The 10 best smoothies: store-bought vs homemade

As the weather gets warmer, we find ourselves craving smoothies all the time. So what did we do about it? We taste-tested over 100 store-bought smoothies to find the very best ones! In the Battle of the Bottled, we found five awesome winners available at your local supermarket— check them out in our June 2016 issue. But if you’re more of a DIY type, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite homemade smoothie recipes, too. Slurp’s up!

Best Tropical

Store-bought: Evolution Fresh Defense UpStick a tiki umbrella in this combo of pineapple, mango and orange juices. It has no artificial sweeteners and delivers 310% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C per serving. ($4.99 for 15.2 oz.)

Homemade: Kiwi-Pineapple SmoothiesIf you love tart and fruity smoothies, this one’s for you. Try adding coconut milk to make it more like a piña colada.

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5 summer sippers for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is right around the corner! Cue the sun emoji, beach emoji, dancing-lady emoji, sunglasses-guy emoji, etc. Once you’ve survived the insane traffic, you deserve a pat on the back and a nice stiff drink. So sit back, relax, and pour yourself one of these warm-weather cold ones — summer is finally here!

Cucumber Gin & Tonic

Upgrade your garnish by slicing your cuke crosswise and snaking it around the glass. This cucumber just got even cooler!

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6 Spins on Lemonade


Squeeze the most out of your summer with these fun, fresh ways to flavor your drink!

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The Infusion Solution

You already know how important staying hydrated in the summer is, but sometimes chugging all that water can seem like a little bit of a feat. Why not make it fun– while keeping it healthy– by adding natural flavor from fruits, veggies and herbs? With these infused water ideas, you can say goodbye to boring sips, and hello to lickable lips!

Add a squeeze of citrus

You already take it in your tea, so why not try your water? Lemons and limes are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and since we don’t normally eat these fruits on their own, squeezing them into our water is the next best thing.

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Dirty Pickle Martini

Cocktails, Anyone?

Inspired by one of my friends’ favorite shots–the Pickle Back, a whiskey shot chased with pickle juice–the Dirty Pickle Martini is crisp, sour and salty all at once. Though I prefer all of my martinis made with gin, the Dirty Pickle Martini is especially tasty when made with gin. Get ready to say “Cheers!” with this super satisfying and lip puckering cocktail.





Get the recipe: Dirty Pickle Martini



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Healthy Helping: 6 Teas to Know

Is tea really the new coffee? You can decide that on your own. But for those of you who are tea fans like myself, let’s take a look at how our bodies benefit from drinking different types of teas. Not a tea drinker? Then it might be time to convert! With the six different types of tea below, you’ll have no problem finding one that’s right for you!

1. Black Tea

Compared to other teas, black tea has the highest caffeine content and helps to maintain cholesterol levels, cardiovascular function and a healthy circulatory system.


2. Green Tea

Green tea is often popularized as one of the healthiest teas and with good reason too! Green tea has shown to prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of stroke and neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.


3. Oolong Tea

Often served in Chinese restaurants, oolong tea can be a healthy part of your weight loss plan. When it comes to skin disease like eczema, a study revealed that if drinking one liter of oolong tea can provide moderate improvement in your skin after a month.


Add a little glamour to your cup of tea with this Sparkling Tea made from black tea


4. White Tea

White teas are full of healthy antioxidants and are the best tea for your skin and complexion. As white teas are the purest and least processed of all teas, they have the most potent anticancer properties and need to be brewed carefully.


5.Herbal Tea

Herbal teas such as peppermint, ginger and lemongrass are rich in vitamin C. In addition, they help relieve stress, aid with stomach and digestive problems and strengthen your immune system.


6. Chamomille Tea

Chamomille tea comes from a flowering plant like a daisy and can reduce menstrual cramps, control your cold and help with sleep.


After a stressful day at work, try out this Relax Already Apple Tea made from chamomille


Taste Test: The Best Green Teas

Delicious Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes

New Takes on Iced Tea

Source: teavana.com and healthmeup.com


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Tito of Tito’s Vodka

Tito’s Handmade Vodka founder and master distiller Bert “Tito” Beveridge (yup, that’s his real last name… clearly he was born for this business) has endured a long road to success with a lot of sips of vodka along the way (he tests every single batch himself)! The native Texan started out as a geophysicist, worked on dynamite-blasting oil reserves, dabbled in sub-surface mapping and analyzing ground water, and even tried out mortgage banking before he found his true calling: vodka distilling. What began as a hobby (he used to make small batches for friends) has become his passion. Today, Tito’s is one of the fastest-selling and fastest-growing micro-distilleries on the market and was just named the exclusive vodka of United Airlines. We sat down with him (over a drink, of course) to find out more:

Tito and Stella

  1. If you could spend a weekend cooking with Rachael, what would you make? Asian vegetable stir fry with tofu. Chicken fried venison with cream gravy. Dove breasts sautéed with garlic. Redfish with lemon. Breakfast would be French toast one day and chip beef on toast the next.
  2. Drink of choice? Titos with sparkling mineral water, a squeeze of lime and a squeeze of orange.
  3. What cocktail trend are you most excited about right now? Fresh fruit muddled with Titos and seltzer water
  4. #1 guilty pleasure? Rum raisin ice cream
  5. Best gift you’ve ever received? Kids
  6. Best gift you’ve ever given? An Audi
  7. What would you want your last meal to be? (Calories don’t count!) Deluxe Mexican dinner at blanco cafe in San Antonio. It is a beef taco. A chalupa. Guacamole. 3 cheese enchiladas with beef sauce and onions. Rice and beans. Flour tortillas and a Big Red to drink.
  8. You have an afternoon completely free to do anything you want — what’s it going to be? Go fishing on a creek.
  9. What’s your #1 rule to live by?  Try hard with a lot of love in your heart.
  10. What’s your go-to dish if you want to impress someone? Turkey

Tito and Roscoe


-Ariana Phillips


Visit titosvodka.com for more info.

If you like Pina Coladas…

…and getting caught in the rain. – Rupert Holmes


Escape (Pina Colada Song)- Rupert Holmes (Music Video)

Before I ever had my first Piña Colada, I knew they were something special, based entirely on their oft-repeated mention in Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)“–a 1970s rom-com in song form with an undeniable sing-a-long and body swaying quality. Think about it, have you ever been in a bar and not heard people sing along with this tune? I think not.


Fun fact: In the original song lyrics, Holmes said “Humphrey Bogart,” but ended up changing the lyrics to “Piña Coladas” to conjure the idea of escaping to an island vacation. (Can you imagine if he hadn’t changed the lyrics to Piña Colada? We would probably have never heard the song.)


So today–and all summer long–we celebrate the Piña Colada (“strained pineapple”), a Puerto Rican concoction made of rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice. While the creation of the drink has been debated, it is widely believed that bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marero created the exotic sipper in 1954 to delight the bar’s wealthy tourist clientele.


Now, less than 100 years later, we can find this tropical flavor in all types of different forms beyond the beverage–from cakes to ice cream and even lip gloss to body wash. So let’s think outside of the “glass” this year, and celebrate National Piña Colada Day with jelly shots! Find out how to make them after the jump!


Pina Colada Jello Shots

Photo by Levi Brown

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I Heart Watermelon Cocktails

Pink cocktails are my guilty pleasure. They simultaneously appeal to my inner girly-girl and taste a-maz-ing, and yet, I rarely order them in public. After bartending many years ago on the opening night of the first Sex and the City movie and making over 200 Cosmopolitans, I don’t think I (or any other bartender for that matter) can look at a pink drink in the same way. That being said, I do make an exception for watermelon cocktails. Juicy sweet and irresistibly fresh, watermelon–in juice or puree form– is like putting summer into a glass. So when there’s a watermelon cocktail on a menu, you better believe I’m gonna order it, but since that can get expensive, here’s a few of my favorite watermelon drinks that you can make at home.



Photo by Plamen Petkov


Get the recipes:



Watermelon Quencher

Watermelon Quencher

This lovely libation from our Editor-in-Chief, Lauren Purcell, and her sister, Anne, will put smiles on everyone’s faces. Use a couple drops of red food coloring to tint the sugar-salt mixture for a colorful cocktail rim.

Watermelon-Plum Sangria

Watermelon-Plum Sangria

Two kinds of plums and a half of a watermelon is all you’ll need for this thirst-quenching sip. Use a melon baller to scoop balls out of the watermelon, then plop ‘em into your pitcher. How easy is that?!

Melon Patch Champagne Cocktail

Melon Patch Champagne Cocktail

From our “Year of Champagne Cocktails” recipe collection, this June-inspired sparkler combines slightly sweet watermelon, botanical-infused gin and savory rosemary to create a crisp, clean and ultra-refreshing concoction.

Watermelon Mint Cooler

Watermelon Mint Cooler

Mint and lime heighten the cooling and refreshing factors in this 4-ingredient cocktail. Make it by the pitcher for the easiest signature party cocktail ever!


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Battle of the Citrus Cocktails: Lemon versus Lime


Battle of the Citrus Cocktail Sippers

When the summer hits its peak and its so hot and humid that I’m sticking to my car seat, I always crave the most quintessential thirst-quenching summer drink–an ice cold, lip-puckeringly sour and slightly sweet lemon- or limeade. While sure, water is probably the best choice to hydrate, it’s the citrus fruit’s bracing acidity that delights my palate and makes these beverages so crave-worthy. To get into the Thirsty Thursday spirit, we’re ditching the innocent lemonade stand version and going for the more liquored-up libations. Check out the two classic cocktails featuring lemon and lime and leave a comment saying which concoction you’d prefer. Cheers!



Battle of the Citrus Cocktails:
Lemon versus Lime

Lemons Limes



Clean with an intense and bright acidity.



Sweet with a subtle, floral acidity.

Tom Collins





Tom Collins


Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup
or Sugar, Club Soda



Gin, Sweetened Lime Juice (or Lime Juice
and Simple Syrup), Lime Wheel
Created in the 1800s by Stephen Price of the Garrick Club in London, this drink was originally called a “John Collins” after the club’s pleasant headwaiter, John Collins. However, with the rise of English old tom gin–such as Hayman’s or Ransom–the drink’s name eventually morphed into the “Tom Collins,” paying homage to it’s signature ingredient.





First described in 1928 as a cocktail of gin, lime and soda, author Raymond Chandler described the drink as 50-50 Rose’s lime juice and gin in The Long Goodbye.



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