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Spice Up Your Water

Water Makeover

For many, water is not the drink you turn to with your meals or to quench you thirst. But there are many reasons to choose water. It's cost-free (for many), calorie-free and a great replacement for sugary drinks that can lead to weight gain - and increased cancer risk.

There are plenty of ways to spice it up. Here are a few ideas to makeover your water into a vibrant, flavor-filled drink.

Muddle It

Muddling is a technique bartenders use to help release the flavor of drink components, usually fruits, herbs and spices. Muddling is similar to using a mortar and pestle in cooking. It's great for bringing out the flavor in something without the use of heat. 

For a fun spin on your water, try Muddled Mojito Water.

Muddled Mojito Water

1/2 lime (cut into 2 pieces)
2    sprigs of mint (to your taste), reserve one for garnish
2-4 cups unsweetened black cherry sparkling water, or unflavored, if preferred

o In bottom of pitcher, place lime pieces and 1 sprig mint.
o Using a muddler or back of any spoon, smash the lime and mint together to release the lime juice and oils from the mint.
o Add 2-4 cups sparkling water (amount depends on how strong you want the flavor to be) and stir.
o Pour flavored water over ice, garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

Try Sparkling

Sparkling water is the perfect solution if you don’t like water and prefer the carbonation of soda. There are many varieties and flavors, and it's still zero calories. Just be sure to pay attention when choosing. Some sparkling water beverages contain sugar – not necessary if you’re creating your own flavors.

Instead of greeting your guests with alcohol at your next dinner party, start with a sparkling water spritzer. You could even set out ingredients for your guests to create their own.

Watermelon Ginger Spritzer

4  cubes (1 1/2-inches) of watermelon
1 piece ginger (1/2-inch), peeled and sliced
1-2  cups sparkling water

o In large glass place watermelon and ginger slices.
o Add sparkling water.

Drink immediately or let sit for a few minutes to overnight to allow flavors to intensify.

Freeze Your Fruits

To ensure your water stays cold and flavorful, drop some frozen fruit into your water. Try berries, cherries or peaches. Not only will the frozen fruit give your water a bright look, the flavor will slowly intensify as the fruits thaw. And you can snack on the fruit while enjoying your water.

Simply wash and dry your fruits well before placing them in the freezer overnight. Spreading them on a plate or half baking sheet will prevent them from sticking together. In the morning, drop in a few pieces and enjoy.

Fruity Ice Cubes

To ensure your water stays cold and flavorful all day, try freezing herbs and fruits in your ice cubes. Not only will your water look bright and exciting, the flavor will slowly intensify as the ice melts and your fruit or herbs thaw.

This is also a great way to save time when making your flavored water in the morning. No cutting board necessary, just drop a couple fruity ice cubes into your water bottle, fill with water and go!

Herbs and Aromatics

It may sound odd, but adding herbs can offer a surprising and satisfying flavor to plain water. The most popular herb used for flavoring water is mint, but you could also try basil, thyme or lavender if you want to try something different. Other aromatics, like vegetables and spices are a great option. They offer depth of flavor to dishes and chefs use them as a base on which to build flavor.

Ginger, lemongrass, celery, and Kaffir lime leaves are examples of aromatics that would work well in infusing your water. 

Lemongrass and Basil Infused Water

1 piece of lemongrass stalk, about the size of a finger
4 basil leaves
4 cups water

o Using the back of a spoon or a mallet, smash lemongrass to break it open and release the flavor.
o Place lemongrass in the bottom of a pitcher.
o Roughly tear basil leaves and place in pitcher.
o Add water and serve over ice.

Reduce the Juice

What's your favorite juice? By mixing your juice with water, you can gradually decrease the amount of juice you add each time as you get used to the flavor.

Start by filling your cup or water bottle a quarter of the way with juice and fill the rest with water. Yes, this will taste like watered down juice, because it is. The point of this is to adjust your taste buds to less sugary beverages. Gradually add less juice and more water. This method will help you reduce your juice at your own pace.

Tea

Maybe you forget about tea, but it is simply flavored water. Tea is a great option because it's easy to make with tea bags, but you can also get different flavors of herbal tea for brewing in the same way you brew green or back tea.

Or rummage through your spice cabinet and create a blend all your own. Mixing dried herbs and spices like cinnamon stick and coriander makes for a unique beverage. The great thing about your newly brewed tea is that it can be served hot or cold. A year-round beverage, if you will.

Cinnamon and Clove Spiced Tea

1 tea bag (black, green or decaffeinated tea)
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 cloves
4 cups water

o In medium sized cooking pot combine tea bag, cinnamon stick, cloves and water.
o Place pot over medium high heat, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes and remove tea bag.
o Simmer for an additional 6-8 minutes and remove from heat. Enjoy hot or let it cool for iced tea.

Published on August 8, 2014

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