There’s something rustic and romantic about a cool pitcher of water adorning a summer picnic table and the ice cubes rattling about the glass jug. There is also something relaxing about drinking those fruit and vegetable flavored waters on a spa visit that seems so…luxurious. Thanks to Denise, now I can have both, at home. -Maggie
During the cold winter months, I drink tons of hot tea. After my two cups of coffee that I allow myself during the morning, I switch over to grassy green teas or calming herbal blends. It’s guaranteed if you walk into my office on a blistery day there will be a cup of tea sitting on my desk.
Now that things are warming up, however, I am searching for alternatives to replace that misty hot cup. We are not soda drinkers, we feel that there is just too much sugar involved. And we normally don’t keep juice around the house, unless we are squeezing it ourselves. So, I have been playing with the elixir of life: water.
Any given day the past month, if you walked into our house, you would have seen a big pitcher of sparkling water on the counter. A big pitcher of flavored sparkling water, that is. It has been great fun playing with different fruits, vegetables and even herbs to create just the right flavor combination. Some of them work perfectly, and some don’t. For instance, strawberries, despite what you might envision, are not my favorite floating around a pitcher of water.
Making your own flavored waters at home is quick and easy. An added bonus: a big glass of flavored water is much healthier, than say a soda, since I don’t mix in any added sugars or artificial flavorings.
It’s also an ideal kitchen project to get the kids involved. They will love experimenting with different flavors so much that they will want to guzzle down the finished product. I tested this theory when we had friends over with the little ones while I was trying different flavors. I told them mint is what is used for making gum and before I knew it they were drinking glass after glass of minty water.
I’ve definitely decided on a few of my own favorite flavor combinations. Cucumber with lemongrass – a big glass of it makes me feel like I just walked out of the spa. Blackberries with lemon and ginger – slightly sweet and zingy, a great pick-me-up on a hot day. Other favorites: watermelon and rosemary, orange and thyme, and cucumber and mint.
Cucumber Lemongrass Water
- 1/2 cucumber
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 4 cups of water
- Wash the cucumber. Using a vegetable peeler remove some of the waxy peel from the cucumber. Proceed to peel the cucumber into ribbons using the vegetable peeler. Put the ribbons into the pitcher.
- Using your hands, peel away the rough outer edge of the lemongrass. Cut the lemongrass in half, lengthwise. Place the lemongrass onto a cutting board. Using a rolling pin, gently smash the lemongrass. Add to the pitcher of ice and cucumber ribbons.
- Fill with water. Give a stir. Let chill in the fridge at least an hour.
- Fill about 1/4 of the pitcher with ice, stir, and enjoy.
Blackberry Lemon Ginger Water
- 1/2 pint blackberries, washed
- 1 knob of ginger
- 1 small lemon
- 4 cups of water
- Pour the blackberries into a pitcher.
- Wash the knob of ginger, then slice into thin slices, leaving the peel on.
- Slice the lemon into thin slices. Put the ginger and lemon into the pitcher of blackberries. Fill with water.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon gently smash some of the blackberries while stirring the water.
- Let sit in the fridge at least an hour.
- Fill with some ice, stir and enjoy.
All photos styled and taken by Denise Woodward.
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