Ah, the days of high school, when we could eat a doughnut, wash it down with soda, and call it lunch. While we still enjoy a meal with friends, we’ve had to grow up and go from soda to diet soda to juice to finally, water. We may feel better for doing it, but what does that leave us to serve guests for a brunch? We have a tasty compromise for getting our required amount of water and still enjoying what we drink – homemade flavored water. We offer some recipes and tips for making what’s sure to be a hit at your next brunch.
Making the perfect pitcher
There are recipes all over the Internet about how to make flavored water, but it’s really as simple as just using what you like. The thing to remember is more won’t necessarily equal sweeter, so don’t think using a dozen oranges is going to make the equivalent to orange juice. The goal is really to enhance the taste of your water so you stay motivated to keep drinking it.
To start, try using 2 cups of any berries, or slices of a whole fruit or vegetable (like orange or lemon). You can also do 2 cups of larger cubed fruit like watermelon or pineapple. There are two ways you can bring out the flavor of your fruit: you can leave it in pieces, or you can mash the fruit to bring out its maximum flavor. Do this in a 2-quart pitcher, add some ice cubes and fill with water (tap or unfiltered). Flavored water is best when it’s been steeping, so try to allow four hours for infusion, but if you can’t wait that long and want to cut the time short, go ahead – we won’t tell anyone!
The best combinations to try
Don’t feel like you have to buy the most exotic fruit to make the best water. In an effort to keep it affordable, try to use fruit that’s in season. This has taste benefits as well, since fruit that’s not in season tends to be tart and less flavorful.
If you’re really craving that mango or peach but it’s the middle of winter, you can also opt for frozen fruit. An added plus is that you can keep a couple of bags in the freezer so you always have some on hand.
For those that really want to play with flavor, you can also add some herbs: basil, mint, and rosemary are some of the most commonly used, but it all comes down to your personal preference. Below are some popular combinations. Let them inspire you to mix up the variety of combinations so you’ll always have something new to try.
- Strawberry and lemon
- Strawberry and kiwi
- Raspberry and lemon
- Raspberry and lime
- Lemon and mint
- Lemon and rosemary
- Lemon and lavender
- Watermelon and rosemary
- Watermelon and basil
- Pineapple and mint
- Cucumber and mint
- Cucumber, honeydew melon, cantaloupe
Once you learn how easy it is, making homemade flavored water will be a constant request from guests. Serve some at your next outdoor brunch, beach party , shower, or sip some while having a home spa day. Keep your mix of fruits, vegetables and herbs lively and you’ll never long for those soda and doughnut days again!