Where to go for summer drinks in the Sierra Foothills and Tahoe

When the “Good Day Sacramento” television crew recently was visiting western Nevada County, it knew where to go for a good cup of coffee: Carolines Coffee Roasters in downtown Grass Valley.

Now that summer has arrived, we recommend a Mocha Freeze from Carolines. The drink is a blend of homemade mocha mix with shots of fresh-roasted espresso, topped with homemade whipped cream. The mocha drinks are offered in clear “to go” tumblers, with a distinctive red straw.

Other cool summer drinks from Carolines include freeze variations (white mocha, mint mocha, chai, vanilla and chocolate); Jet Smoothies; Italian sodas; Oregon Chai (sweeter) and Chico Chai (spicier). CarolinesCoffee.com

A drink called kombucha is gaining popularity among people who favor organic beverages, and Ike’s in Nevada City recently became the first Nevada County restaurant to offer Kombucha on tap. Kombucha is a tea drink with a little more flair. Tea, sugar and a colony of yeast and bacteria are mixed together and fermented until it becomes a carbonated elixir.

Ike’s other drinks include Blue Sky natural sodas, organic shakes, smoothies, fresh-squeezed lemonade, coconut water and Abita Root Beer (sweetened with Louisiana sugar cane). IkesQuarterCafe.com

A pioneer of fresh, organic food, Summer Thyme’s also offers healthful summer drinks. Examples include frappes and smoothies (a “Tropical Vacation” is fruit, coconut milk, rice milk and dates), as well as Italian soda and house-made iced Chai.

The juice bar offerings include The RainForest (spinach, green grapes, apple cucumber and ginger). Shakes are a newer item, including Ghiradelli Chocolate Shake, Madagascar Vanilla Shake and Very Berry (made with real berries). SummerThymes.com

The organic market in Kings Beach, on Tahoe’s North Shore, features one of the best juice bars in our region. Examples include “Sunshine” (apple/ginger/lemon); “Sweet Thing” (carrot/apple/orange); and “The Beet Is On” (beet/apple/ginger/carrot).

Smoothies start with a base of flax or Chai seed and are finished with your choice of fresh apple, orange juice, yogurt or almond, rice or soy milk, or coconut water. TahoeCentralMarket.com

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