Staying hydrated over the summer
July 1, 2014 1:32 PM   Subscribe

What should I drink during this wonderful, hot weather?

It's in the 90s (F) this week, and I love it. Hot and humid and sweaty, bring it on. Every year in New England in February, I fantasize about moving to Death Valley or Florida. There's nothing like a good hot sweat, but I really should be drinking more fluids. What are some tasty, useful things to drink to stay hydrated?

Normally I drink either water (boring) or diet coke (delicious, but not satisfactorily thirst-quenching). I also like Gatorade, but isn't that full of bad things? What else is both good for you and yummy? I need something with electrolytes, right?
posted by Melismata to Food & Drink (49 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Iced tea
posted by bleep at 1:34 PM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

I drink gallons and gallons of unsweetened decaf iced tea and it is delightful.
posted by elizardbits at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm a fan of NUUN. It's a tablet you drop into your water. It flavors it and adds electrolytes.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Water with fruit or cucumber in it! Super easy, healthy and has a yummy flavor. If you want to be especially thrifty, soak just the strawberry tops in a pitcher of water and eat the strawberries separately.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 1:36 PM on July 1, 2014 [8 favorites]

I drink a lot of seltzer (e.g., SodaStream) with different bitters in it. Right now, I'm using Peychaud's bitters, and before that it was Bittermens' Burlesque Bitters, but pick your poison.

I like using bitters because: 1) I don't drink soda; 2) it's cheap; and 3) it gives me reason to keep buying different bitters (which are always nice to have around the house)!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:37 PM on July 1, 2014 [7 favorites]

Watch the gatorade, especially in quantity. VERY salty, very sweet. Anything you're going to make a habit of, you ought to try to go as healthy, unprocessed, inexpensive, and non-fattening as possible, no?

So I'd keep a variety of fruit juices, or fruit juice concentrates, on hand, and pour a small amount into each water glass. Not enough to be fattening (or rot your teeth), just enough to give some flavor. If you find yourself craving the sweetness, you can work yourself down in the ratio by X% per day.

I'm a fan of 100% cranberry juice (very little sugar). You can get a little bottle of concentrate and like a tablespoon is more than enough in a glass. The tartness is refreshing.

One thing to consider: juicing concentrates not only vitamins, but pesticides, too. I'm not an organic true believer, but with juices and nut pastes, I always try to go organic.
posted by Quisp Lover at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Definitely iced tea. I particularly like the fruit infusion types as they're naturally sweet and so need no added sugar.
posted by essexjan at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2014

Better yet, iced peppermint tea.

Easy to make too. Get tea that is made of mint leaves and nothing but (fortunately there are a few brands that definitely do this, mostly it's pure peppermint which is even better). Then just throw a few bags into a jug - one bag per cup, however much the jug holds - fill it with water and put it in your fridge and wait a couple hours.

Drink over ice; no need to add milk or sugar. Not only is it cold and wet, the menthol in the tea will be even more cooling.


I also recently saw a tip - if you get a punnet of strawberries, save the tops as you slice them off (as long as there's still a little bit of red on the top). Wash them off, put them in a jar and fill that with water and let that sit for a few hours. Presto - strawberry water. (This is basically the same principle that spas use, when they have pitchers of water that have a bunch of slices of cucumbers steeping in them, only it's strawberries which makes it better.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2014 [9 favorites]

Use frozen berries as ice. It absorbs heat and imparts flavor.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

I like putting a sliced lemon or lime and fresh mint in water. Delicious.
posted by three_red_balloons at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Brew a big pot of Mint Magic (any peppermint tea will do, really), add a little sugar or agave syrup, and ice it. Caffeine-free and so refreshing. Does well with accessories (mint leaves, lemon), too.
posted by magdalemon at 1:38 PM on July 1, 2014

Agua frescas!

Or, just cut up a lemon or a lime, or melon, or cucumber to add to a pitcher of water that you keep in the fridge.

If you go the iced tea route, try some flavored simple syrups.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 1:39 PM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

You're in New England, where you have access to the full line of Polar Seltzer flavors.
posted by brujita at 1:40 PM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Make yourself some ginger syrup and mix into sparkling water for super-good super-gingery ginger ale.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:44 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you need hydration and not merely satiation, try SOS, it's extremely effective and good for really hot weather or rehydrating after sports.
posted by janey47 at 1:45 PM on July 1, 2014

Iced barley tea! I go through at least two pitcher a day.
posted by neroli at 1:47 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Iced hibiscus tea. Beautiful colors, and you can even drop fruit (strawberries, white peaches, watermelon) into the pitcher for extra awesomeness.

I just cold-brew mine in a pitcher in the fridge.
posted by mochapickle at 1:49 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Really, any fruit syrup (sugar added, or sugar substitute, or no sugar) mixed with fizzy water is delightful.

I also love adding chia seeds to things--the textural difference makes me drink more, and those suckers hold a CRAPLOAD of water.

It's also worth considering, maybe, how you can add more liquids to your diet--having cold noodles in a savory broth for lunch or supper means that you get that extra cup or two of liquid; thin smoothies (with pureed fruit, veg, water, and yoghurt) do the same thing.
posted by MeghanC at 1:50 PM on July 1, 2014

I have a pitcher of water in the fridge right now with a handful of mint sprigs and a quartered lime in it, and its delicious. I drank a ton of it over the weekend. It has the same flavor profile as a mojito, but more subtle.
posted by Fig at 1:51 PM on July 1, 2014

spa waters - an obnoxious name, but they're delicious and refreshing without being sugar bombs
posted by quince at 1:53 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Iced Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea. It's really sweet, without sugar in it. Best iced tea in the universe.

I also have a SodaStream and drink a couple liters of fizzy water every day. Add a little fruit juice or syrup to jazz it up.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:54 PM on July 1, 2014

It's cherry season where I am. That means cherry limeade.

1. Buy some cherries and juice those cherries.
2. Add a bunch of ice to a glass. (I prefer crushed, but it's not like it matters.)
3. Juice half of a lime, right over the ice.
4. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of cherry juice.
5. Top with sparkling water or club soda.
6. Stir. (Cherry juice, it sinks. Who knew?)
7. If it's too tart for you as is, add a few drops of agave or simple syrup or just plain sugar, if the heat is making you feel lazy.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:00 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

All great answers, thank you!
posted by Melismata at 2:01 PM on July 1, 2014

Home made lemonade.

Or better yet Lemon Barley Water. Gatorade before their was Gatorade and surprisingly refreshing.

Also Ice Cold watermelon.
posted by wwax at 2:01 PM on July 1, 2014

I drink refrigerator teas all summer long. I just use Celestial Seasonings various Zinger flavors, and a bunch of Hubert's lemonade bottles. (Any herbal tea, and any reasonably wide-mouthed bottles will do, though, of course.) I just stuff two teabags into each bottle, fill it with water, cap it, and put it in the refrigerator to steep.

I usually have between 6 and 12 in there at a time.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:05 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

My favorite local punk rock coffeehouse has a drink called the Bender Ender: It's SporTea mixed with raspberry or tangerine Emergen-C, served over lots and lots of ice. So, so tasty, and it does exactly what it says on the tin!
posted by divined by radio at 2:05 PM on July 1, 2014 [4 favorites]

Seconding Polar seltzers; fizzy and refreshing without gobs of sugar or corn syrup! And if you'll pardon the self-link, switchel is good on a super hot day.
posted by usonian at 2:10 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just had some strawberry/fresh basil leaf tea, cold brewed. Ten berries, four bruised leaves for two quarts.

I used to add ginger syrup to my mint tea, and loved it. Then I discovered the perfect ginger+sweetness delivery system: one slice of sushi ginger in each glass.
posted by Jesse the K at 2:12 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

see if you can find licorice ramzy!

only if you like licorice.

but it's so weird and sweet and cold and super refreshing (if you like licorice.) you drop a little nest of ground licorice root into cold water and let it sit for an hour, and then pull out the plastic steeper.
posted by euphoria066 at 2:14 PM on July 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

I second the seltzer water with bitters (I also use a sodastream) and I also like to do seltzer with a little bit of juice - about 1oz of juice to 8oz of water.
posted by insectosaurus at 2:21 PM on July 1, 2014

Water can be spruced up by adding a few drops of an extract or essential oil. For example, I add about half a teaspoon of vanilla extract/almond extract/lemon essence to around 20 ounces of water. Be aware that too much will make your mouth feel like burning. You can buy about a billion flavors at your local baking supply store. Adds no nasty things, only deliciousness.

As a bonus, you can keep a bottle of it in your drawer at work and feel like you're spiking your water every time you pour a touch in. I generally put the extract in first and then add water so it self stirs.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:45 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Desert-dwelling distance runner here. Water. I know it's boring, but seriously, just keep a sports bottle with you and sip on it all day. It's magic. If you're sweating enough to need to replace salt as well as water, then something like NUUN works well.

Gatorade isn't exactly full of "bad things", but it may be full of more things than you need, depending on what you're doing and what else you're eating and drinking. It's got salts and lots of sugars.
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 3:03 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm another sodastream owner who's started drinking seltzer with bitters in it - so far, just orange bitters, and it's just enough flavor for some variety. I also drink seltzer water on its own (never liked it until I recently managed to train myself into it, and now I'm drinking it in preference to plain water).
posted by rmd1023 at 3:21 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm another happy SodaStream owner. I use lime juice (the bottled kind because limes are bloody expensive here). I also have a box of ginger tea I brought back from Korea (though you can most likely find it at an Asian grocer) that I dissolve in a bit of warm water and then stir into my fizzy, fizzy water. FWIW, SS makes a pretty good V8 splash syrup, but I limit that to no more than 8 ounces a day (sugar and all). The lemonade syrups are okay. I got the diet cream soda and it's pretty much undrinkable. If you decide to get a SS, memail me. I've got 3 bottles of diet cola syrup (long story, but I can tell you SS has excellent customer service) you can have.
posted by kathrynm at 3:57 PM on July 1, 2014

My homemade lemonade in a glass: Squeeze the juice from half a lemon, add sweetener to taste (I usually use Splenda, but sugar would probably taste even better), a pinch of salt (yes, really!), three or four ice cubes and cold water. Give it a stir, make sure it's sweet enough/not too sweet and you're done!
posted by peacheater at 4:20 PM on July 1, 2014

If you're getting dehydrated you definitely need something with electrolytes. If it's from working out hard, Gatorade, if it's from working out a little less hard, G2, if it's just from hanging out on the heat, Powerade Zero or a Nuun in water. Adjust according to your calorie needs, of course, but there's no need to mix sugar with the sodium unless you need the sugar.
posted by ftm at 4:25 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Seltzer with cran

A mix of black and mint tea, iced

You can make a Pimm's cup that's easy on alcohol (though maybe not too authentic) with diet ginger ale, Pimm's, seltzer and sliced orange, lemon, lime, cucumber (any or all).
posted by bunderful at 5:36 PM on July 1, 2014

I have been drinking so many ice-cold cans of San Pellegrino aranciata rosa lately. I rarely ever drink anything besides water, but this is my exception.

Also, homemade popsicles are a delicious way to stay hydrated.
posted by Munching Langolier at 5:51 PM on July 1, 2014

I run my A/C as little as possible during the summer as a lowering my electrical bill challenge. I also exercise a lot. For me I drink a ton of smoothies (banana, frozen fruit, yogurt/milk) and eat a bunch of peanuts which I seem to crave (I think I lose a lot of salt through sweating.) I also like to eat melon a lot. Basically follow your body's cravings and eat the healthy version of the thing you feel like you want. I find Gatorade gross.

One summer I drank a massive amount of "sun tea" (couple of black tea bags in a jug of water left to sit in the fridge) mixed with a whole bunch of milk and sugar/honey. I should have gotten some tapioca balls to do makeshift boba. I guess it is what I was craving. I probably drank like one jug of that per day.
posted by mermily at 6:08 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've been rockin Kool-ade made with Spkenda, with a splash of strawberry margaritas mix. But I'm a twisted little cruller.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:48 PM on July 1, 2014

Like mochapickle, I've been drinking hibiscus tea in enormous quantities. I'd advise hunting down a small bag locally to make sure you like it (it's tart, and has a slightly chalky cranberry-like edge). My first exposure was from a 4-ounce, $3 packet bought at my local middle-Eastern market. Hispanic or other ethnicity-specific markets may also carry it, and 4 ounces can go pretty far --- you can easily make 2 gallons of tea from that, 2.5 if you stretch it. And if you like it, well, then, you buy this monster and have enough to keep you hydrated for many a summer to come.

Also, it apparently lowers hypertensive blood pressure.
posted by jackbishop at 7:07 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

My husband has been adding the products from the True Citrus Company to water. His favorites are the plain True Lime and the True Lime Black Cherry Limeade.
posted by gudrun at 7:49 PM on July 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Boil some rhubarb and strawberries and then add lemon juice and sugar to taste.
posted by slateyness at 9:47 PM on July 1, 2014


But not just any water. Either put your tap water through a filter, or find a tap that dispenses the flavour of water that you like. There is a huge difference in the amount of minerals in different tap water.

Where I live the water at my in-laws house is horribly salty (they are within yards of the ocean) and I can't drink it. My husband thinks it's the best mildest tasting water in the world. Different wells in different areas and different parts of the city water supply with different reservoirs can taste different. If you don't like water there is a good chance it is either flat, and needs air added to it, or it has minerals in it that you don't like.

Also be aware that there can be a lot of flavour transfer from the bottles. If you don't like water it could be the flavour leaching from a plastic water bottle, or pitcher. My mother used to make us kool-aid once a summer in an old enamal washstand pitcher. That stuff was undrinkable. We drank it because it was the only kool-aid we were going to get, but it was foul. The enamal inside of the pitcher was cracked and so much rust was leaching out that if we didn't drink the kool-aid right away it turned a murky brown. I'm pretty sure you would notice if you were drinking water out of something that colours the water, but you might be getting plastic or metal flavours in your water from any part of the supply chain, including the pipes in your house.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:25 AM on July 2, 2014

One of my favorite summer drinks is fizzy water, with a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and a drizzle of honey mixed in. Tart and refreshing!
posted by fancyoats at 6:34 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

(Tazo) Iced hibiscus tea.

I drink this (unsweetened!) almost exclusively outside of coffee and plain water and in my mind there is nothing more refreshing. I cold-brew it in the fridge with a few lemon slices so I don't know if using hot water changes it. My brand of choice is Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger. I recently tried the Tazo and was surprised how different it tasted, so if you try one and don't like it you should try the other.

Plain water with lemon and cucumber slices is also fantastic.
posted by Room 641-A at 1:57 PM on July 4, 2014

(I don't like peppermint tea, so despite their description it is not "minty-minty." )
posted by Room 641-A at 2:00 PM on July 4, 2014

Making your own electrolyte drink is dead easy and dirt cheap. All the ingredients you need are available at a regular ol' supermarket. I make mine with lime juice (the preservative-free not-from-concentrate stuff in a jar), unflavored/unsweetened coconut water (if I'm feeling fancy), tap water, and crushed mint leaf. That forms the liquid base.

For the electrolytes, I put in regular ol' salt for sodium, Nu-Salt for potassium, and a crushed-up calcium-magnesium tablet. The amounts of each of these vary depending on what I'm doing -- trace amounts if I'm home shvitzing on the sofa; more if I'm hiking my ass off in the SoCal heat. (I suppose I should inject a cautionary note about being mindful of your personal needs and tolerances for electrolytes, esp. sodium. I didn't list specific quantities because YMMV.)

I use Stevia as sweetener.

Depending on the ratio of ingredients, you end up with something that tastes either like a virgin mojito or a virgin margarita. Sooo good. Once you start making your own, you'll probably find the store-bought stuff like GatorAde disgusting. The home-made stuff is free of the grody mouth-feel (aka tongue slime) that the store-bought FrankenAdes have.
posted by nacho fries at 7:27 PM on July 4, 2014

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