With the summer weather in full force and wedding season up and running I have been a busy worker bee and constantly thirsty. Even though I do adore water and it's light ice cold thirst quenching abilities I've been noticing I'm still wanting to reach for the yummy sugar filled goodness of orange flavored pelligrino or a caffeine overloaded (I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight) iced coffee. So I was thinking what could I drink that is the best of both worlds? Something that allows me to keep or lose (I am hoping for the latter) my figure and get my much needed beauty sleep and still has the sweetness of the other two? Instantly an idea blossomed in my head! I love going to the spa and to cute little organic cafes! Although part of that is because at one I am getting a fab massage and the other eating scrumptiously delightful food the other reason, the more relative reason, is they always have these great fruit and herb infused waters! I love my water filled with all sorts of fruity fabulousness! So without any delay I began searching for recipes and found all sorts of wonderful ideas. I have narrowed them down to my top three.
Hibiscus and Strawberry Water
This one I couldn't resist because it uses an actual flower which I am growing at home and to be honest (this shouldn't be a shock) I am flower obsessed.
1 cup (1 ounce) jamaica flowers (dried hibiscus flowers)
1 tbls. agave nectar
1 tbls. agave nectar
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 dozen organic strawberries (sliced or muddled)
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil then add the flowers and stir continuously while the mixture boils for one minute. Pour into a noncorrosive bowl and steep for 2 hours. *Note: this flower will stain so don't use a bowl that will stain. Glass is your best bet. ** If you can not get the actual dried flowers you can subsitute hibiscus tea. Bring water to a boil. In a tea ball, add hibiscus tea. Steep hibiscus tea in a pitcher for 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a sieve pressing on the flower solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Add the agave nectar. Taste for strength and sweetness. If it is too potent, add water or if too tart add more agave. Cover and refrigerate to chill. Stir in lemon juice and strawberries. Then serve on ice!
Kiwi, Lime, Cucumber and Mint Infused Water
6 c. still or sparkling chilled water
1 cucumber washed and cut thin but don't peel
1 lime quartered
4 sprigs of mint lightly crushed
2 kiwis sliced thin
Discard the stems of the mint. Then fill a pitcher with the fruit and herbs. Add water and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days. Strain and enjoy!
Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca
Unfortuantely, I am allergic to all melons. So I can not try this yummy drink. But the other day I took my friend Kim to one of my favorite spots, Sideboard Cafe in Danville, for her birthday. I had heard through the grapevine about their watermelon lime cooler and suggested it to Kim. She got it and loved it and it has been on my mind ever since. So I am living through you all with this recipe! Kim let me know how it compares!
1 tbls. sugar
1/2 c. water
Fresh lime juice
Take whatever leftover watermelon you have lying around. Chop it into big chunks, not worrying about seeds or mushy spots. Fill a blender 3/4 full with the watermelon chunks, and add about 1 Tbls. sugar (or to taste) and 1/2 c. water. Puree. Pour puree through a fine sieve into a pitcher, discarding solids when done. Repeat if you have any remaining watermelon. Add fresh lime juice to taste to the watermelon juice (approx. one large lime for two blender-fulls of watermelon.) Serve with thinly sliced cucumber rounds and fresh mint, and maybe a shot of vodka or gin if you want to kick it up a notch.
Try them out and let me know how they go! I know at my next dinner party I will not be serving just plain old water! I have even found a cute idea on serving my exciting new waters!
I found these cute Italian glass reusable bottles at Sur La Table. And so your guests know which flavor is which just make a little label and tie it on with some raffia!