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Trying to drink more water--how to make it more interesting?

I've been trying to drink more water, in lieu of Diet Coke. Aside from tea, lemon or lime, what other things can I add to water to make it more interesting that also doesn't require a lot of sugar?

I have a bottle of rosewater in my cupboard--is there a simple beverage I could make with that? Or, maybe something with orange blossom water?

~TDQ

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  1. mint - I just read that sipping water throughout the day is better for you than gulping a whole glass at once. Interesting, no?

    1 Reply
    1. re: PastaFace123

      Oh, mint! Of course, great idea. Perhaps sipping it throughout the day help keep you steadily hydrated?

      ~TDQ

    2. The topic of this thread came up here months ago and someone posted the idea of sliced cucumber in water...it really is refreshing!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Val

        No kidding! Cucumber, eh?

        I thought this was such a weird topic, I didn't search on it, though I had searched on "rosewater." You're right--it's been discussed before. Here are a couple of "flavored water" threads.

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28284...

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/28284...

        ~TDQ

        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          I love cucumber water but you can up the ante by adding some thin slices of tangerine, orange, lemon - any thing citrus to the blend. The trick is to make just what you're going to drink that day. It gets murky and a little icky after that.

          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I love cucumber water! The real thing is even better than Hint water's "cucumber" flavor. From spas I've also gotten the ideas for strawberry water, strawberry and rosemary water, mint and cucumber water, cucumber and orange slice water, and more. My favorite is strawberry and rosemary.

          2. re: Val

            Yeah, at some of the spas in town they put cucumber and lemon or lime in big pitchers throughout and it is extremely refreshing. I also go with the mint, but I usually take a straw and beat it in the bottom of the glass to get some of the flavor out of it. Thank God I love plain water and it is my drink of choice!

            1. re: Val

              I put cukes in water, too. I dislike cukes alone (most of the time), but they are really great in ice-cold water.

            2. I make a fresh pitcher of iced tea every night to keep in the frige. There's a range of Celestial Seasonings "zingers" out there that make good choices. Just takes a few minutes and my whole family loves it.

              1. When I am at the spa they serve Strawberry water which is simply water with sliced strawberries floating in it. It tastes and smells delicious. You can do this with lots of fruits including citrus.

                Another thing I like to add to water is Orange flavored Crystal Light made with Splenda. I use only half the cup of powder and add some fresh lemon, lime or orange slices.

                1. A quick toss of Red Wine Vinegar in a pitcher of ice cold water is a nice 'savory' water.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    Really? That sounds so bizarre. I must try it. AnneInMpls suggested balsamic vinaigrette in one of the older threads I linked above--there must be something to it.

                    Such great suggestions in this thread, like the strawberries and celestial seasonings iced tea. Thank you!

                    No ideas for the rosewater?

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      RE: VINEGAR

                      there are lots of sites that say apple cider vinegar and water cleanses the system. i tried it...it's pretty gross and never drank enough to see any benefit

                      1. re: jenniebnyc

                        My grandmother did this many years ago, and I started drinking it myself recently so I'd drink less coffee while I'm on the road. I put 1 Tbsp of good cider vinegar (I use Heinz real cider vinegar, I believe Heinz makes another called cider flavored which isn't real), and squeeze of honey and I also put a cinnamon stick. It tastes just like tea with lemon and honey to me, but then again I love vinegar.

                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Yes, it sounds like I'm not alone in vinegar appreciation. (I used to drink straight apple-cider vinegar when I was feeling poorly, and developed a taste for the finer stuff.) I just got some cassis vinegar that's great in sparkling water.

                        Rosewater or orange-flower water sounds good, too. In fact, I'm going to go downstairs and try some now. Maybe a drop of rosewater, an orange slice, and a cardamom pod or a cinnamon-stick stirrer? Oooh - time to experiment with the spice drawer!

                        Anne

                    2. cucumber and mint are really good. And for citrus, lime and lemon and I mean really use a lot of the fruit. Really great thirst quenchers!

                      1. I like to add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and honey to water - hot or cold...yummers!

                        1. First of all, do you like rosewater? That'll make a big difference. There are a lot of people who think it tastes like soap, and can't stand any desserts with the stuff. My name isn't rose water in real life, and I'm not offended.

                          So, since you bullied me into it, I just put about a 1/2 teaspoon into a small glass of water. It was incredibly floral smelling. And the water...tasted like water (to the extent that I was able to separate my sense of smell from my sense of taste). But hey, if you have a bottle of the stuff, try it. But be forewarned, a little goes a long way.

                          Actually, I'd say the same of just about any water add-ins. I've been surprised by the intensity of the flavor of cucumber and mint waters (and am not convinced I like them). I had strawberry water at a restaurant once, and it was great.

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: rose water

                            Okay, now I'm going to try it, too. I'll be back.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: rose water

                              Yeah, rose water doesn't seem to have enough of a taste on its own in water. You're right--it's hard to separate the taste from the fragrance. I do like it in desserts and such. I bought this particular bottle to make sahlep, but, I used so very little of it and now have a big bottle of it.

                              I suppose I could add sugar or honey with the rose water, but I'm trying to stay away from adding calories (plus, I'm looking for something to sip at my desk all day that won't rot my teeth...)

                              P.S. The cat finds it intriguing--she just jumped in my lap to smell the rose water and I keep having to push her away.

                              ~TDQ

                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Sorry the experiment failed!

                                fwiw, the main way i get through rose water is in rose lassis, inspired by spicy mina's in queens: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                and in mock iranian ice cream: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                1. re: rose water

                                  Oh, I don't think it's a total failure. I do love the fragrance of it, so, maybe the key is to add even less so there is just the fragrance and even less flavor. Actually, that's pretty much what you said, isn't it? To go easy on the quantity?

                                  I think there must be something I can combine it with in the water, too, I just haven't found it yet.

                                  I've been trying to eat more yogurt, too, so I think I'm going to try that lassis tomorrow. As good as the mock iranian ice cream sounds, I think I'd better stay away from the heavy cream until I'm further along with my new year's resolutions! HA!

                                  ~TDQ

                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Add a drop of rosewater to lemon-flavored water. Here's a recipe that might be interesting. Don't know how many calories are in grenadine though. However the lychee/rosewater/grenadine sounds good.
                                    http://www.foodreference.com/html/hea...

                                    I like watered down juices ... sort of fruit essenses ... like a little cranberry juice in a glass of water or orange juice ... usually an 8 parts water to juice mixture.

                                    1. re: rworange

                                      I think I might try substitution pomegranite juice for the grenadine in that recipe and see what I come up with.

                                      ~TDQ

                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      I think rosewater is best when sweetened. It's pretty good in plain or vanilla yogurt. Also, if you don't want to waste the bottle of rosewater and can't think of anything else to do with it, it works well in the bath, to add a little fragrance.

                                2. re: rose water

                                  Ja, I'm not a rosewater fan - a Persian housemate couldn't train me out of it, although she insisted on putting the stuff in everything from desserts to savoury rice. That said, I am a fan of rose ice cream, and from eating a heck of a lot of that, I totally get what you say about smell and taste. Rose is one of those flavours where it's hard to separate the two.

                                3. A little tamarind paste is nice for this. I drank tamarind water all summer long. Also, do you like fizzy water?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: melon

                                    I love fizzy water--and tamarind, too! Sounds like another fun one to try.

                                    ~TDQ

                                  2. I drink water almost exclusively. I enjoy a soft drink every once in a while, but I love water. (Used to hate it but made myself start drinking it. Now it's generally my preference.)

                                    My husband makes iced tea, and every once in a while I'll have some of that and add rose water to it. I really like that.

                                    I also put lime in my water most of the time. I started that about 10 or so years ago. I really like gin & tonic with lime, but I had stopped drinking alcohol (blood sugar issues) and I missed that. So I started ordering my water with lime when I was out (not everyone has lime, of course, but I get it when I can.) I've even gotten my husband hooked on it. Now when he makes us glasses of water at home, he always puts lime in it.

                                    I will say, though, that if you only drink water for a while, you will probably get used to it without flavor, and you might (like me) eventually start craving it exclusively when you're thirsty. I've gotten to where even warm water makes me happy as a thirst-quencher. It shocks me as I used to have to force myself to drink a glass if that was all that was available!

                                    Two excellent bottled waters: Kentwood (regional, primarily Louisiana) and Fiji (expensive but delicious). I never thought I could taste a difference between waters, but I can. (I was put to the test with Kentwood taste-testing, and I passed!)

                                    1. I am trying to kick Diet Coke myself so I can sympathize.

                                      I make Red Zinger, or the other Herbal Teas, and use more water than usual. Served cold, I sweeten with liquid Splenda.

                                      I also make plain filtered water with liquid Chlorophyl flavored with Sugar Free Mint Syrup from Da Vinci.

                                      The Da Vinci Sugar free syrups are terrific for making light, refreshing calorie free water drinks. Great with Pellegrino as well.

                                      1. i like some fresh nectarine slices and lemon in my water. very refreshing. :o)

                                        1. Some good ideas here. This may not be what you're looking for but sometimes when I'm on the run, I'll grab an individual tube of Crystal Light Lemon and add that to a big bottle of water so the flavor isn't too strong. It makes a nice change.

                                          http://www.kraftfoods.com/CRYSTALLIGH...

                                          1. Read a recent medical study how drinking lemonade might inhibit the growth of kidney stones.

                                            http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/0...

                                            I switched from drinking iced tea all the time at home(no sugar or artificial sweetners) and concocted my own sugar free lemonade and drink it instead of water at home.

                                            In a 2 liter soda bottle, 2-3 packets of Equal, cup of Real Lemon Juice(No calories, No carbohydrates) then fill it up with filtered water and chill. You can buy two one quart bottles of Real Lemon Juice at Costco for $4.99.

                                            1. I have tried adding thin Asian pear slides into water and it is sooooooo refreshing! Just a hint of the sweetness of Asian pear which is perfect IMO.

                                              Red / Green apples also work, but you need to add lemon juice to prevent the apple slices to become darker.

                                              1. iced barley tea. sounds odd, but in korea it is often served instead of water. roasted barley is simmered and served hot or cold. you can buy it in tea bag form. when it's hot out, it quenches my thirst better than anything else. look for bori cha in a korean market or mugi cha in a japanese market.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: augustiner

                                                  Barley water (or tea) is really very good. Our local Korean BBQ place serves it gratis.

                                                  Btw, just a reminder about bottled water (the kind you buy in 6 packs or 12 packs or whatever - Crystal Geyser, etc. I read recently that it's not that good for you. Some of the plastic bottles they use leach into the water and almost all of it is actually tap water that has been jazzed up with additives of minerals, etc. Beware.

                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                    Oh yes! And I love corn tea too, which you can find in Korean shops (you boil the corn and let steep for 15 minutes or so). A friend of mine used to keep a massive pitcher of it in the fridge.

                                                    1. re: Kagey

                                                      actually, a lot of people mix the two together. the roasted corn tea is a little sweeter. i prefer the barley tea, but they're both good. anyone interested in the corn version, you can look for oksu su cha in a korean market.

                                                  2. re: augustiner

                                                    Barley water is also very very English. I'd never really thought about how it was made so this was interesting. I have to say, as an American kid who moved to London drinking English orange or lemon barley water was a nasty taste experience! Hahaha. I'd be curious to see if I like it any better now.

                                                  3. I love Lemon La Croix icy cold, orange and lime are not bad either. Got the fizz, and really tiny bubbles, not large coarse bubbles like seltzer, and very refreshing. For me it has to be really cold and not over ice. I was taking a lot of pain meds lasst spring and summer that left me very thirsty, nothing quenched it like the La Croix Lemon.

                                                    1. TDQ, I know your question is about flavoring water, but just to let youknow that a friend uses a few drops rose water OR orange water into orange juice in a jug; it's delicious. So maybe some orange or tangerine slices, then a few drops of rose or orange water might work too. I have to drink more water too, I do find the cold zinger teas are great - but my fav. no caff.tea (cold & without sugar)is Raspberry and Rosehip, by Taylors of Harrogate. It's clean-tasting deliciousness! I put 5-6 teabags in a jug with hot water, let it sit for at least 30 mins, take bags out, then refrigerate, it keeps for days.

                                                      1. Ginger root warmed in hot water then chilled is also refreshing. A bit spicy but lovely.

                                                        1. Soda water with a few drops of Rose's Lime Juice is very refreshing.

                                                          1. I like to add slices of meyer lemons and blood oranges.

                                                            1. I buy and carry around these packets of True Lemon and True Lime:

                                                              http://www.truelemon.com/purchaselime...

                                                              Yes, it is a powder but for immediate use and ease, they are pretty fabulous.

                                                              1. I love soda water with just a dash or two of bitters. It's very refreshing.....

                                                                Uncle Ira

                                                                  1. Not a free water add-in, but I buy a lot of flavored seltzers and mineral waters. My favorite is the Very Berry Flavor sparkling mineral water by Crystal Geyser. It's not sweetened at all, just flavored.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Amuse Bouches

                                                                      Oh God, that is absolutely my favorite sparkling water, and I have a very hard time finding it.

                                                                    2. How about an ounce or two of Jameson's Irish or Dewar's whiskey? Very refreshing albeit calorific.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: beduzza

                                                                          I was waiting for this answer. Clearly it is the most obvious use for water. I might add a single-malt scotch such as Glenfidich.

                                                                        2. I like some of those already mentioned, especially the cucumber, very diluted juice (this is great with pom, grape, apple as it doesn't give your throat that cloggy feeling), and the standard lemon/lime, fresh or powder. I'll have to try the vinegar thing, as I really enjoyed this Persian vinegar drink I made once, with cucumber and/or mint in it (can't remember). If anybody would like that recipe, I can find it.

                                                                          Additionally, I don't have the name of it handy now, but there are these Korean packages of instant ginger tea. Just a few sprinkles from one pack makes water taste great! I think the packs are at home, so I'll check.

                                                                          Too, I saw these on a site I buy from sometimes, but haven't tried them. They're organic spring water flavoring drops, in lots of flavors... apple, apricot, blueberry, cherry, grape, grapefruit, lemon, lemon-lime, mandarin, mango, orange, passion fruit, peach, raspberry, strawberry. You can get variety packs. http://www.naturesflavors.com/default...

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: juster

                                                                            I just bought some ginger tea bags, they have licorice and other healthy stuff in it too (sorry too lazy to run downstairs) I had already made a note to try some tonight.

                                                                            1. re: juster

                                                                              that organic spring water flavor website is awesome! talking rain makes a great nectarine flavored soda water that is so cool cuz it doesn't have any sugar just this essence of nectarine. i was wondering how i could replicate that at home and this looks like it would work! :o)

                                                                              1. re: juster

                                                                                Wow! This site is amazing. Has anyone tried their Sugar Free syrup? Sounds like the possibilities for flavoring your water are endless.

                                                                              2. take a couple pieces of star anise and drop them in your water bottle and just leave them there the whole day. nice andtasty and supposedly its good for your digestion.

                                                                                1. I use Water Sensations. http://www.watersensations.com/

                                                                                  I found it in my local grocery store (I think it was Giant). I've only tried the peach flavor, but really liked it.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: QueenB

                                                                                    Those Water Sensations are good. Peach is the best, imho, though grape is good too. I found them at Target.

                                                                                  2. After reading all the vinegar ideas here, I just added a little White Balsamic Fig Infused Vinegar to my bottle of water.... It's wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

                                                                                    Uncle Ira

                                                                                    1. chili powder and lime juice in my water- like thai soup minus the fish and veggies!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: aroques

                                                                                        This was a great idea. I did a variation on this. I have these little tiny hot peppers from Brazil and I dropped two in the glass of water and added a squirt of lemon juice. It is really refreshing ... zingy hot and tart.

                                                                                        Going with the suggestion of throwing a pacet of lemon juice in some water, I added a packet of lemon juice leftover from some iced tea and threw in a packet of tapatio. That was good too, but it would have been better I think if I had an extra packet of lemon juice.

                                                                                      2. does anyone add a lot of lemon juice to water i.e. a whole lemon's worth of juice to 300ml of water

                                                                                        and toss in some salt?

                                                                                        very thirst quenching!

                                                                                        1. Getting good and thirsty always makes water more interesting to me. Same with beer.

                                                                                          1. Ever tried the French fruit flavour concentrates like Tessiere or William? The flavours are really good and not chemically like a lot of the flavoured fruit waters with Splenda etc. I love the lime and raspberry amoung others. They tell you to make a 1:7 mix, but b/c I try to avoid the calories I add maybe a tsp full to a large glass of water - lots of flavour, a touch of sweetness and it's easy and not too bad for you. I'll also take a 1/4 c of cranberry juice (the 100% juice, no sugar added kind) in a full glass of club soda. Mmmmmm.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: jcanncuk

                                                                                              Tessiere is great, but it is pure sugar.

                                                                                              1. re: Fleur

                                                                                                I know, but if you add a tsp full, you get lots of flavour and 20 or so calories - big deal. And, at least it's not high fructose corn syrup or chemical sweetener....

                                                                                            2. I only drink seltzer. The bubbles are more interesting than plain water - I have become quite addicted to it.

                                                                                              1. I take a few slices of orange and a vanilla bean and add to a about gallon of water. Put in the fridge for a day or so. Alter time/ amount of orange and vanilla to your taste- it's fantastic.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: YumTum

                                                                                                  That sounds so delicious. I'm going completely off topic, but this reminds me of a drink a friend introduced me to; they both remind me of orange creamsicles: fill a glass full of ice cubes half with orange juice and half with evaporated milk, adjust to taste, blend if you want. this guy's puerto rican neighbors hooked him on it.

                                                                                                2. and now, for something totally different: if you need to drink "more" water, sip it through a drinking straw. It's the straw that does the trick; eight glasses of water a day goes down effortlessly through a straw!

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Cynsa

                                                                                                    Funny, but TRUE! When I started trying to drink more water (I used to really not like it), I found that straws or bottles with small openings did the trick, for some reason.

                                                                                                    1. re: juster

                                                                                                      Heh. I totally have to drink my water out of a bottle. I hate glasses.

                                                                                                  2. Pour a splash of OJ, Tangerine OJ, or Lemonade into a cup of water. Easiest way of spicing up flat water.

                                                                                                    1. Elderflower?
                                                                                                      Fizz it up and add some bitters?

                                                                                                      1. Start with a good water. I drink Evian throughout the day because it tastes good warm, as well as cold. I don't feel the need for extra flavors, and drink about 2 liters per day.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                          I agree with pikawicca, the water has to taste good to begin with. I started drinking a lot more water at home when I got a Brita pitcher. I give my cats filtered water and noticed they started drinking more; I guess they liked the improved taste too. I even use the filtered water for my coffee and tea. Oh, and change the filters as scheduled!

                                                                                                        2. Well chilled cucumber, melon and spearmint club soda. It will make you shiver a bit even on the hottest of days.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. sparkling water - when i quit soda, i realized that the carbonation was what i craved and missed the most (i could get the caffeine from other sources). if the plain sparking water is too boring, try the flavored crystal geyser like someone mentioned above - it's pretty cheap from tjs

                                                                                                            1. It never would have occurred to me to do this myself, but my favourite French bistro here in Toronto serves their water with whole frozen cranberries in it. Keeps the water cold and adds a pleasant, tart flavour!

                                                                                                              You already mentioned it, and it's nothing innovative, but for me, adding lime to water really encourages me to drink more. I'll cut up a couple limes, throw them in a pitcher with water and ice cubes, and down the whole thing in a few minutes.

                                                                                                              1. I keep a pitcher of filtered water in the refrigerator with lemon, lime and cucumber slices. It's cold, and lightly flavored, so I drink a lot of it!!

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                  similarlly i pulled a recipe for water because it looked so interesting - take a pitcher of twelve cups water. add 2 thin lenghwise strips of cucumber, 3 thin orange slices, 3 thin lemon slices, 3 thin, fresh ginger slices, 3 fresh flat leaf parsley or cilantro sprigs, 6 fresh or frozen cranberries. stir, cover and chill one hour. pour over ice in glasses before serving.

                                                                                                                  i kept it because it looked so pretty to put out at a party. but it'd be great for this too. i should do it for myself.

                                                                                                                2. Have you ever tried steeping dried fruit? Trader Joe's carries some interesting dried fruits: lychees, mangos, and figs. You should try boiling up some water and steeping the dried fruits in the water; essentially rehydrating them. Use the fruit for whatever but the resulting liquid is delicious chilled. It sometimes comes out to be tart but it's always great. Try different fruit combinations.

                                                                                                                  1. Note, we have split off some recipes for Sekanjabin here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448856 for those of you who wish to follow the discussion.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                                                                                                      To clarify for those who are wondering, Sekanjabin is an ancient Persian water flavoring concentrate syrup (think ancient gatorade or Hi-C). The main ingredients are sugar or honey, water, vinegar, and herbs (mint, ginger, lavender, etc.). The syrup is shelf stable and a teaspoon or two makes any glass of water into a refreshing beverage. It may sound odd, but if you like popular drinks like mojitos or even margaritas, you already love the combination of sweet, tart, and herbs, so give it a try!

                                                                                                                    2. I hate pop and don't do refined sugar. My refresher is a mix of Apollinaris, a naturally carbonated mineral water renowned for its health and curative powers, and Trader Joes Blackberry Crush pure fruit juice. The juice is too sweet for me by it self but about half and half is very refreshing. Add a slice of lime, perfect.