Who's the moron who anointed beer as summer's official drink? Alcohol dehydrates the body, leaving you hotter, sweatier, and more liable to trip into a grill and create a barbecue only someone with the surname Donner could enjoy. Drink safe and sweet—stick to the following five liquids, all native to countries featuring summer conditions only slightly more bearable than the Death Valley at noon.

HORCHATAis a strong contender for the optimal summer drink: deceptively sweet and usually served colder than a Newport Beach socialite's blood. Unfortunately, most restaurants treat the Latin American rice water as a grainy afterthought, rightfully confident consumers won't complain since even bad horchata tastes swell. At El Curtido, horchata takes its rightful place alongside chocolate and potato as Latin America's finest culinary gifts to the world. El Salvador makes horchata best, sweeter than those wily Mexicans because guanacos toast their rice instead of soaking it overnight in water as Mexicans do. El Curtido's horchata also includes brave amounts of cinnamon and comes in a goblet that could moonlight as a wading pool. 300 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 973-0554.In Greek mythology, pomegranates were the food of the dead, provoker of winter after Persephone accidentally ate some seeds after Hades abducted the maiden. But when you drink the POMEGRANATE JUICE at Caspian Restaurant, life becomes full of promise again, and the terrestrial inferno that is any county freeway come rush hour is a bit more tolerable. Pomegranate juice's sherry-red tint makes it looks like a wine, and you might mistake it as such based on Caspian's palatial surroundings and the juice's ardent natural flavor. But no worries, AA members: while pomegranate juice is one of nature's finest intoxicants, it's also alcohol-free. 14100 Culver Dr., Irvine, (949) 651-8454.Thanks to rampant Mexican migration over the past 35 years, the Mexican national soda JARRITOS is now as ubiquitous as Pepsi, even available in pinche liter bottles (hooray for amnesty!). Best of the company's flavors is mandarin—freeway-trash-bag orange, acidic, brilliant. You can find this drink at any Mexican market, but at Hot Tacos II, they pack it so deep inside ice that a plume of chilly smoke gushes out when you pop the cap. Full disclosure: Hot Tacos II is the official lunch truck of the Weekly since their dollar tacos are so delicious—plus, it's just downstairs. On the corner of Sycamore N 17th, Santa Ana, (714) 634-4944.

The PALM JUICE at E-San Rod-Sap looks like beer, what with its presentation in an obtuse, amber bottle emblazoned with a Buddha who looks like he's on the last, bloated stages of cirrhosis. Sorry, boozehounds: the libation is hooch-free, although it's so laden with fructose that the sugar high from just one sip will wallop you with the intensity of a Bacardi 151 shot. 1719 W. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 999-0563.The best summer drink in Orange County—hell, the best drink in these parts, period—is also the least advertised. Nuoc Mía Vien Tây in Garden Grove sells an ambrosial SUGAR CANE JUICE renowned throughout the Vietnamese diaspora but little-known outside. When summer comes, sometimes the lines wrap around the tiny confectionary and even outside into the unforgiving sun. A deep sip reveals why: frothy but smooth, the sugar cane's earthy sweetness is tempered by the citric candor of tangerine and kumquat. It is extraterrestrial. It is patient, it is kind—it's the I Corinthians 13 of the beverage world. 14370 Brookhurst St., Garden Grove, (714) 531-9801.

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