The oppressive summer heat is settling on South Florida in earnest and the snowbirds have all but vacated our region, making it easier for locals to hit the beaches and enjoy some of that tropical paradise everyone's always raving about. As anyone who's felt the mysterious exhaustion of having spent a few hours lazing surfside and doing absolutely nothing can tell you -- you gotta hydrate or that sun will kick your ass.

Of course, water is the number-one choice to nurse your poor body back to a semblance of health, but what to have as your "side car" to the H2O? Below are five of the best summer drinks to cope with a subtropical summer and suggestions on where to rehydrate in Palm Beach and Broward:

Five Best Summer Drinks to Beat the Heat

5. Sangria -- This perennial favorite serves two important functions: liquid refreshment plus nourishment in the form of diced fruit. That the chunks of strawberries/melon/orange/what-not are soaked in booze is a bonus, if not in the health department, at least in the flavor column. Get your fix here: The pitchers of sangria at Laura's Cuban Restaurant, 2723 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, consistently get high marks for value and flavor.

4. Seasonal beers -- Even brew snobs have to admit that hot days are a totally appropriate time to down a beer with strong notes of berry or fruit. Forget the ever-cheesy "dad rock-riffic" Corona Light with lime wedge (though I'll fess up to having tipped back one or more of these barley pops on a summer's day) and try a crisp, summery ale that doesn't call to mind spring break circa 1989. Get your fix here: Try the clean citrus of Bell's Brewery's summertime champion Oberon Ale, available at World of Beer, 4437 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek and/or Mellow Mushroom, 25 SE Sixth Ave., Delray Beach.

3. Arnold Palmer -- Named for one of Florida's more beloved (and least notorious) golf legends, the Arnold Palmer is an insanely refreshing mix of lemonade and iced tea. Get your fix here: Try the frozen version at Mootz's Italian Ice, 21073 Powerline Road, Boca Raton.

2. Margarita -- Forget those nasty premixed neon abominations; this classic postbeach cocktail is best served on the rocks with fresh real ingredients. Get your fix here: Go for the Patrón Classic Margarita (nothing but Patrón Silver Tequila, Patrón Citrouge orange liqueur, and fresh-squeezed lime juice on the rocks, with salt) at Uncle Julio's, 449 Plaza Real, Boca Raton.

1. Mojito -- Perhaps the perfect coda to an afternoon spent frolicking (or suffering) in the Florida sun, the recuperative effects of the Mojito were favored by no less than Ernest Hemingway, whose fondness for polydactyls and lackadaisical island hamlets are testament to his good tastes. Get your fix here: There are countless destinations for a good Mojito in South Florida, but for both generosity of size and rum pour, you can't go wrong with the offering at El Bayu Cuban Cafe, 180 S. Federal Highway, Boca Raton.

Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.

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