With summer still in full swing, and hotter than ever!, cold drinks are on everyone’s mind to slack that thirst. Beat the heat with style using chilled creative ice cubes creations.

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Instead of just ice cubes to chill your beverages, kick it up a notch — add some flair and flavor with a few easy steps.

Here are a few photo tips to inspire adding visual and taste pizazz to your cooking repertoire for yourself or if you’re pouring for a crowd.

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Preserving peak-of-summer produce on ice is a good way to extend its life into the fall and winter months as a budget saving measure. Frozen cubes of whole or pureed fruit can be thawed and used with yogurt, drizzled over fruit, added to teas, and tucked into autumn desserts.

Cube: Fruit juice

Use in: Iced tea, vinaigrettes, and other juices

Tips: Match the fruit juice with a white tea; the light flavor complements the fruitiness of the juice.

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Cube: Chocolate milk

Use in: Iced coffee, milk

Tips: Make a batch of homemade chocolate milk. Try this recipe from I Am Baker. The milk takes a bit longer to become solid so let it freeze up.

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Cube: Chopped fresh or frozen fruit

Use in: Juice, iced tea, sparkling water

Tips: Cutting up fruit releases more flavor so you can taste the fruit in your drink even before the ice melts. Do it in two steps: put fresh fruit in trays, then fill with water.

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Cube: Fresh lavender or geranium

Use in: Tea, water

Tips: Be sure to use certified organic flower buds for culinary use. To impart more flavor, muddle the flowers a bit before filling the cube tray with water and freezing.

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Cube: Fresh mint leaves

Use In: Tea, lemonade, water, carbonated soft drink

Tips: Slightly muddle whole separated mint leaves (without stems) for stronger flavor and pretty aesthetics.

Featured image: atomicshed via flickr