Save money, cut down on waste and drink healthier with these tips.

Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where Assistant Nutrition Editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two, and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

Summer is the season of drinks, usually cold, sometimes with alcohol. In an effort to stay home and save money, I have learned to make some of my favorite drinks from scratch and I will never look back. From iced coffee in the morning to a Frozen Grapefruit Margarita at night, you can quench your thirst all day long in the comfort of your own home with these easy, fun tips.

two glasses of whipped frozen lemonade
Credit: Casey Barber

4 Drinks to Make at Home

Here are some of my favorite drinks to make from scratch at home. They help me eat healthier, save money and cut down on food waste. Not to mention, I can customize the flavors to be exactly how I want them.

Iced Coffee or Cold Brew

There are few better ways to kick off a warm summer day than with an iced coffee. Unfortunately, it is probably news to no one that buying iced coffee out can get expensive. Skip the trip out and make iced coffee at home by brewing more than you will drink, and saving the excess in the fridge for tomorrow morning (or an afternoon pick-me-up if it's that kind of day). If you are feeling up to it, our favorite cold brew coffee maker can help you have a refreshing cup of joe every day.


Smoothies are versatile, nutritious and delicious—especially in the summer. But buying them out can be expensive. Not to mention, many smoothie shops add additional sources of sugar or fat for creaminess and flavor. Making your smoothies from home can help you control the added sugar and create flavors specifically to your taste. You can even add veggies, protein or grains to make it closer to a full meal in a pinch. Check out our guide for making epic smoothies at home for inspo.

Whipped Drinks

Whipped drinks had their moment in the sun this spring, starting with the viral whipped coffee hack. Bring this trend into summer with our fruit-forward drinks like Whipped Frozen Lemonade, Whipped Frozen Limeade and Whipped Frozen Creamsicles. These recipes have fruit as the star to boost flavor and cut down on added sugar, compared to whipped or frozen drinks you would buy out. These recipes are also vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, so you can enjoy the decadent flavor while meeting your nutrition goals.


A night out at your favorite bar or restaurant is not an option right now for many people in the U.S.. However, staying in does not mean you have to forfeit the fun flavors of fancy cocktails. Making drinks at home helps you save money, while also being able to control the added sugar. You can mix your Smoky Tajin Margarita exactly to your strength and preference, and can even add ingredients and get creative with it. My personal favorite cocktail is our Bee's Knees. The floral notes of gin and refreshing lemon cool me off on any summer day and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes in the comfort of my own home.

Bottom Line

Making drinks at home is affordable, boosts nutrition and cuts down on waste. When you make drinks from scratch, you can customize them to get the flavors you like best, and save money while doing it. To become a scratch cooking pro, check out our foods you should be making, not buying, as well.