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What do drink?

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I am looking for beverage ideas for my wife's lunch. I know this sounds kinda silly, but we are in a rut here. Some parameters:
Not carbonated.
Not too sweet: most fruit juice is too sweet, but some of the V8-VFusion smoothies are OK, for example.
Not wine or beer (she has to work in the afternoons).
Not iced tea every day. She does not like iced coffee.
Smoothies are too filling and too cold for much of the winter.
Reasonably inexpensive would be good :)

My first thought was making water kefir, and that might be an option, but I'd like to see if anyone has any other ideas.

Thanks for the ideas!

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  1. Herbal teas, hot or iced. Endless variety. Also, make some interesting flavored syrups to add to water, tea, coffee or milk.

    1. Basil lemonade; you can control the sweetness. Or ginger lemonade; ginger-honey-limeade (also good as a hot tea).

      1 Reply
      1. re: DuchessNukem

        That sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out.

      2. I have been taking an insulated mug of flavored or herbal teas that I can drink hot or room temp. For example, today is an apple spice tea that gives the hint of cider without being actually sweet.
        Some days I'll have a lemon tea or hibiscus..the main thing for me is that they must be decaffeinated and calorie free without being artificial. And much as I love my good old black tea, sometimes I want something different - and cheap.

        1. In Canada we have a zero alcohol wine called Vino Zero, a white wine and it is quite good.
          What about a Homemade lemonade?

          1. Water kefir is super versatile- most of the time I do the second ferment with crystalized ginger and dried mango slices but it's so easy to vary that with different dried fruits.

            Is she already drinking water kefir? I wouldn't jump into it as a full glass lunchtime beverage if not since some people need to work their way up from small amounts.

            1 Reply
            1. re: weezieduzzit

              No she is not. We'd clearly need to start small. This is looking like a good choice, though.

            2. I've never heard of water kefir until now!
              If anyone else is curious, here's some info:
              http://nourishedkitchen.com/water-kefir/

              I suppose you've already thought of buttermilk.

              1. <"Not carbonated.">

                I thought water kefir was carbonated?

                1 Reply
                1. re: RhonelyInsanediego

                  The first ferment is done with it covered with cheese cloth or a coffee filter or even an open bottle so carbonation does not build up, if you bottle it after brewing,cap it tightly and allow it to do a "second ferment" it will carbonate but even then it's rarely as carbonated as a commercial soft drink. An exception is adding grape juice (organic, with sugar, no HFCS, to the second ferment- it gets crazy bubbly.

                2. Does your wife like yogurt? I find a salty glass of ayran or a slightly sweetened lassi to be very refreshing. Rice milk and almond milk are also very refreshing and light. Adding cinnamon or other warm spices to them is also a nice seasonal touch.

                  Homemade tisanes can be made as sweet as you like. My favorite is a brew made from Thai basil, lemongrass and black pepper with several dashes of Angostura bitters.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: JungMann

                    She has not liked lassi in the past. I like some lassis. The basil-lemongrass sounds good. Thanks.

                    1. re: travelerjjm

                      I am currently eating my own lunch at work and I realized I keep a selection of Crystal Light in my desk to break up the water monotony. They are a lot easier than many of the homemade ideas we're coming up with!

                  2. How about aguas frescas (aka aguas naturales) made from her favorite fruits of choice? They are more like "fruit-ade" rather than fruit juice and you can make it as fruity and juicy or as subtle and light as you'd like.

                    Some interesting non-fruit ones would be jamaica (hibiscus tea), avena (oatmeal), pepino (cucumber), or chia seeds.

                    http://donalupeskitchen.com/2010/04/a...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: seamunky

                      Great idea. We love these when we go to Mexico. I will check it out. Thanks.

                    2. What about good old still water? You can put it in a mason jar with some citrus wedges (beyond lemon and lime, orange, blood orange, and grapefruit are also great). Cucumbers are nice too.

                      1. Water? Low-cal, goes with everything, easy to come by. If you want to doll it up, add some lemon or lime slices, or other fruits. Hot mulled cider made with unsweetened apple juice is nice in the winter.