Article By Monica Matheny
Say goodbye to soda, juice, and bottled water with these refreshing, healthy flavors! I’m keeping 2-3 flavors of this “spa water” in my fridge now, so I have a variety to motivate me to drink more water.
Aside from my morning coffee, I honestly forget to drink fluids throughout the day. I know that it’s important for my health. I don’t dislike water, but I do get kind of bored with it. That was the motivation for starting to make flavored waters.
Subtle flavor without sweetness
These aren’t sweet waters, so they’ll be disappointing if that’s what you’re expecting. This is water with subtle flavors infused into it. Water with a little something extra. A touch of flavor–not an explosion of flavor–with little or no sweetness. You’ve probably had pitchers of ice water with lemon served at restaurants. This is the same idea, but with more variety. Many spas serve fancy waters like these, and it turns out that they couldn’t be simpler to make. And, they are oh-so-refreshing.
The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) approach to Flavored Waters
My natural tendency is to go overboard and overcomplicate things, so I really have to fight that when I’m developing recipes. I read about and was tempted to try all kinds of methods for flavoring water that involve blenders, boiling, specialty infuser pitchers, and lots of different ingredients. But, I know myself. If I truly want to transition completely away from soda & juice and drink more water throughout the day, I have to make this simple so it can be an easy routine for me to maintain. When I read celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s quick and uncomplicated approach to making flavored waters, I was inspired to follow his lead and keep it simple. My easy formula for making KISS flavored waters is to use only fruit and herbs, water, ice, and a jar or pitcher. This is something I can make in a minute or two so I can always have flavored waters on hand in my fridge.
- fruit — whatever kind you like (except no bananas); make sure it’s good and ripe for maximum sweetness and flavor. I like to use all kinds of citrus and berries. I also found pineapple and watermelon to work well for flavoring water. If you don’t want to buy whole ones, many grocery stores sell small containers of pre-cut fruit.
- herbs — these are optional, but many herbs are a surprising complement to fruit flavors; almost any herb will work depending on your personal preference
- jars or pitchers — I use 2 quart mason jars primarily, but any 2 quart pitcher will do.
fruit infusion pitcher–I recently purchased one of these–it’s another option if you think you’ll be making infused waters regularly; a very easy, tidy way to strain fruit from water.
fruit infusion water bottle–I love using this for a portable, on-the-go option.
- muddler or wooden spoon for mashing fruit and herbs
- water — I use filtered water, but regular tap water is fine if yours tastes good to you
Fresh vs. frozen fruit. When in season, I prefer to use fresh fruit. However, when fruit is out of season, the fresh version can be tart or flavorless. Because fruit that is to be frozen is picked at the peak of ripeness, it is often the better option for the best flavor, sweetness, and nutrients. I find this to especially to be the case with berries and peaches.
A variety of fresh herbs. Use whatever herbs you like or happen to have on hand. I picked all of these from my herb garden and have tried them in flavored waters. It’s surprising how well they blend with most fruit flavors, and they amp up the refreshing factor of the water. Mint is the most obvious herb choice. I also have tried basil, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, and tarragon. All good.
I’ll share some of the fruit and herb combos that I’ve recently tried for flavoring water. But, honestly, you can combine most fruits and herbs according to your favorite flavors and what you have on hand in your fridge. I’ll show you how to make 5 flavor combos. You can take it from there, creating endless flavor combos of your own.
Quantities: The quantities in my flavored water recipes are all for 2 quart jars or pitchers. However, I ran out of the 2 quart jars and used a few 1 quart jars, halving the recipe ingredients. So, don’t be confused by the different jar sizes. It’s easy to make a full or half batch depending on your jar or pitcher size.
The first 2 waters are
flavored with fruit only (no herbs)
WASH FRUIT THOROUGHLY! The citrus and berries need to be really, really clean to keep contaminants and bacteria out of your flavored water. I recommend organic fruit, if it isn’t going to be peeled.
1. All Citrus Flavored Water (adds refreshing tartness to water) — slice 1 orange, 1 lime, 1 lemon into rounds, then cut the rounds in half. Add to jar, press and twist with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon. Press enough to release some of the juices, but don’t pulverize the fruit into pieces. Fill the jar with ice. Pour in water to the top. Stir it with the handle of a wooden spoon or a chopstick. Put a lid on it, put it in the fridge, and chill.
You can drink it right away, but the flavor intensifies if it’s made an hour or two ahead. It’s even better the next day. 24 hours later straight from the fridge, the ice still hasn’t melted completely in mine. The ice at the top serves as a sieve so that you can pour the flavored water without getting fruit bits in your glass.
2. Raspberry Lime Flavored Water (beautiful color and mildly tart) — Quarter 2 limes; with your hands, squeeze the juice into the jar, then throw in the squeezed lime quarters. Add raspberries. Press and twist with a muddler to release some of the juices (don’t pulverize the fruit). Fill the jar with ice, then add water to the top. Stir, cover, and refrigerate.
The next 3 waters are
flavored with fruit and herb combos
You’ll have to visit Monica’s website to get the recipes, and much more: