It isn’t that I don’t like water. I really do, especially during a bike ride or after a workout. It is just so boring to drink all day. It is like white walls, sometimes they are chic, and sometimes you just need a little color in your life. My ongoing drink of choice is black tea, preferably Blackberry Sage or Mango Ceylon Republic Tea. It is the cleanest tasting tea with a hint of fruit flavor and provides a little caffeine as a bonus to stave off my cola cravings. I even read that drinking unsweetened tea is actually better for you than water because tea has antioxidants (Yes, the antioxidant preference was Green Tea, not Black Tea. Black Tea came in third after White Tea, but it still has antioxidants.) Whether it is really true or not, I chose to go with it because it was what I wanted to hear, but I readily admit that I should incorporate more of the clear water variety into my daily regime, if I want to stave of dehydrated skin and wrinkles.
I was really excited when companies like HINT hit the scene because their water has just a slight HINT of flavor, not overpowering, just clean and refreshing. I haven’t really tasted a flavor that I don’t like. My only issue with it is that I don’t always want to spend $1.50 – $2.00 for a bottle of water. Thus, my search began looking for ways to incorporate flavor into my water in a more economical way.
At first, I thought it would be best to go the natural route, so I scoured the intranet for recipes, and I found that most recipes involve acquiring fresh produce, mashing it, and then letting it sit in the water for 6 – 24 hours. This is probably a great way to add flavor to water if you are using produce that you grow yourself to ensure it is free of pesticides, you don’t have any issue with fruit pulp and pieces floating in your water, and you don’t mind waiting for your water to be ready to drink. I did find this really cool plastic water infuser on AMAZON sold by JOKARI that will keep most of the pulp out, but you still have to wait awhile before your water has any flavor. When I tried this one, I found that ginger root and slices of lemon worked the best. Berries on their own worked fairly well but disintegrated quickly and then actually seeped into the water. (NOT my thing) Lemon mixed with anything else tended to overpower the other flavors.
I noticed on the HINT bottles that the water is flavored with ‘essence’, so I tried to find out what exactly essence is. Is it an essential oil, flavoring extract, ?????? I couldn’t find any clear answers, so I tried the oil first and WOW! If you are using essential oils you MUST make sure you are using edible oils. I purchased mine from Columbus Essentials. They have some really interesting flavors and a collection of recipes, but talk about overpowering. I just couldn’t get the mixture right. The orange oil worked the best with a single drop in a 16 oz bottle of water. I wanted to try the Rose Oil, because how cool is rose water, but it is a bit pricey for an experiment I wasn’t sure would work. I had some McCormick flavor extracts in my pantry, and thought I would give that a try. I started with the raspberry flavor, and I think I found the winning formula. An 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon (.6 – 1.2 ml), depending on your preference of intensity, works fabulously when mixed with 16 ounces of water. McCormick is definitely the most budget conscience choice, but their flavors are a little limited. If you don’t mind paying a little more and ordering online, I found a terrific vendor that has exotic flavors like Hibiscus and several more fruit flavors, Natures Flavors.