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Beat the Heat with these Refreshing Drinks

This week we’re talking about how to stay cool during the remaining warm weeks of summer. We’ve got the gear you need to chill out.

Our winning portable blender is a handheld, single-serving blender charged by a USB cable, so you can blend a refreshing drink at the gym, at the beach, on a hike, or at work. Another on-the-go method to beat the heat is carrying a cold drink in our favorite glass water bottle. It has a wide mouth that makes it simple to fill, and the wide, arched handle on its screw-on lid is easy to grip and turn. Don’t forget to check out all the classic summer recipes in The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook. It includes 12 years of recipes, road trips, and helpful tips and tricks. This collection offers foolproof methods for making more than 400 test kitchen–tested recipes inspired by locations all over America. With our recommended gear in hand and Cook’s Country recipes in your pocket, the rest of summer is sure to be a breeze.

This countertop model is both the simplest to use and the sleekest. Applying light pressure to the carbonating block allowed testers to choose between gentle carbonation and intensely effervescent bubbles. CO2 canisters are long lasting and convenient to exchange in dozens of retail stores (including Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Sur la Table) for half of the retail price.  More on this test

Our favorite blender capably turned out smooth margaritas and smoothies and creamy salad dressing. Like those of the other models in our lineup, its narrow cup opening was difficult to fill, but we appreciated that it came with a small silicone funnel to help. We also liked that this blender was easy to turn on and off with one click of a button. It withstood being placed in a duffel bag and dropped five times onto concrete. It did begin to leak on the 45th smoothie, but that was a lot to ask for a machine likely intended for simpler tasks, such as making one smoothie a day or a few batches of frozen drinks at the beach.  More on this test

These silicone bottle caps fit the tops of 12-ounce glass beer and soda bottles. Tough but slightly stretchy, they come in packs of six, 12, or 54. (If you lose the top of a plastic bottle of seltzer or soda, they’ll fit that, too.) Testing was fun: We downed half of a beer, capped the rest, and set it in the refrigerator. The beer was still effervescent the next evening. But don’t wait too long: After 48 hours, the cap blew off one bottle and another beer was left a bit flat.  More on this test

The Vitamix 5200 will pulverize anything it touches—but its steep price will also do the same to your bank account. Still, thanks to an extra-large capacity, it’s ideal for big jobs in the kitchen. This blender performed perfectly to crush ice, blend hummus, and churn frozen fruit into smoothies, and its dial precisely controlled speed. Additional functions, like making ice cream and heating soup, were less successful: We wound up with tepid soup and runny ice cream. But we didn’t downgrade this powerful machine because it excelled at core tasks.  More on this test

This surprisingly quiet centrifugal juicer whipped through fruits and vegetables with ease on high and low speeds, and its 3-inch-wide feed chute accommodated large apple quarters or multiple carrots at a time. It was easy to assemble and its smooth surfaces (with fewer nooks and crannies than other models) proved easy to clean. Its stiff cleaning brush made a clean sweep of pulpy bits in the fine-mesh strainer basket. All parts except the food pusher are top-rack dishwasher-safe.  More on this test

Our winner had the widest mouth in the lineup, which made it simple to fill—no spills or drips. The screw-on lid had a wide, arched handle that was easy to grip and turn, though users occasionally took an extra few seconds to get the lid on track. We liked that this model was dishwasher-safe and had no extra parts to remove during cleaning, and it survived three indoor drops despite its 2½-pound (filled) weight. It's also available in a 16-ounce size, if you prefer a lighter load.  More on this test

This new blender from Breville improves upon its predecessor in a few key ways. It’s more powerful, so it can get smoothies and almond butter even smoother, and it has a dedicated “green smoothie” button that completely blends fibrous ingredients into a silky smooth drink. It’s reasonably quiet and reasonably compact, and combined its ingredients efficiently with minimal pauses to scrape down the sides. Like the previous model, it still automatically stops every 60 seconds, which can be a little annoying during longer blends, but this wasn’t that big of an issue. Its timer makes tracking recipe stages very easy.  More on this test

This roomy infuser held nearly double the amount of fruit of any other product, giving plain water the robust, bright flavor of whatever we put in. We liked that its oblong, clear plastic pitcher was large enough to hold drinks for a crowd but slim enough to fit in the refrigerator door. The model’s smart design comes with three interchangeable attachments: for infusing fruit, brewing tea, and keeping beverages cold.  More on this test