On a hot day, chill out with a cool drink

These tasty drinks should help in summer’s heat. From left: Watermelon-Lime Mint Cooler, Cantaloupe-Grapefruit Basil Cooler, Honeydew-Lemon-Tarragon Cooler.

Inspired by fruity, Mexican aguas frescas, these mouthwatering drinks are like a dip in the pool on a steamy day.

Stir up an herbal simple syrup, then see what it can do with a little chopped melon, fresh citrus juice, a splash of water and a handful of ice. Lemonade who?

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“My favorite of the trio has to be the honeydew cooler. The mild, fennel-like flavor of the tarragon tastes incredible with the sweet melon, and a splash of floral gin makes it happy-hour-ready.” — Riley Wofford, Martha Stewart Living’s assistant food editor

MELON COOLERS

To take these quenchers into the cocktail zone, stir a shot (one ounce) of tequila, gin or vodka into each serving.

WATERMELON-LIME MINT COOLER

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup lightly packed mint sprigs, plus more for serving

6 cups peeled, chopped watermelon

 cup fresh lime juice

Tequila (optional)

CANTALOUPE-GRAPEFRUIT BASIL COOLER

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup lightly packed basil sprigs, plus more for serving

6 cups peeled, chopped cantaloupe

 cup fresh grapefruit juice

Vodka (optional)

HONEYDEW-LEMON-TARRAGON COOLER

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup lightly packed tarragon sprigs, plus more for serving

6 cups peeled, chopped honeydew

 cup fresh lemon juice

Floral gin, such as Hendrick’s (optional)

In a small heatproof bowl, pour ½ cup boiling water over sugar and herbs; stir until sugar has dissolved. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Strain syrup into a blender; discard herbs. Add melon, citrus juice and 1¾ cups cold water; blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Serve over ice, garnished with an herb sprig, or refrigerate in an airtight container for as long as 3 days.

Active time: 10 minutes; total time: 25 minutes; makes 6 to 8 servings.

More recipes and additional tips may be found online at www.marthastewart.com/everydayfood. Questions or comments may be sent to ask.martha@meredith.com.