Flavour my water!
January 18, 2021 5:49 PM   Subscribe

I am trying to drink more water. I would like some of it to taste good. Please give me your suggestions. Snowflakes inside.

I am completely sick of zero-sugar "enhanced water beverages" that smell delicious and taste precisely like nothing. This includes things like LaCroix and flavoured Perrier. I love Gatorade but it seems wrong to drink more than one a day when I am not intensely exercising (I do not need the salt replacement).

I am working from home at the moment so have all-day access to a fridge and kitchen. Please tell me your favourite home-made flavoured waters, or some ones I can buy (in Canada).

- flavoured, please.
- no artificial sweeteners. Sugar is completely acceptable.
- I don't love carbonation. I do not want to buy a SodaStream or other carbonating device.
posted by hepta to Food & Drink (33 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I like to keep a mint plant around and put little snips of it in water. Either alone or with a squeeze of lime or lemon.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:53 PM on January 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

Some additions we put into our 32 ounce water bottles for flavor (not all at once):
-1 ounce apple cider vinegar and 2 T honey
-3-4 ounces of apple cider or cranberry juice or other such juice
-slices of lemon or cucumber or whatever fruit or berries you’ve got
-a packet of emergen-c
-slices of fresh ginger
-various tea bags as the mood strikes - the flavor is milder when you cold-steep but it’s still a step up from plain water - sweeten as you like
posted by fancyoats at 6:02 PM on January 18, 2021 [7 favorites]

I have a similar set of preferences. I started making agua de Jamaica concentrate and BEHOLD I am no longer perpetually dehydrated. Here's a good basic recipe. I add sugar to the concentrate while it's still warm. I currently buy the hibiscus blossoms at my local Asian grocery store (because it's around the corner from my house and large enough to give me some personal space, unlike my local Mexican markets), but I'm probably going to want to find somewhere to buy them in bulk soon.
posted by desuetude at 6:05 PM on January 18, 2021 [4 favorites]

I LOVE Paul Newman’s Limeade, and a quarter glass full and the rest just water really scratches my itch. Now, I use carbonated water from my soda stream, but I imagine you might enjoy it with flat.
posted by carterk at 6:07 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm genuinely drinking Crystal Light lemonade right now — powdered mix in water. I'll also rep for iced herbal tea (just....make a pot of tea and let it cool) and the secret best: just put a splash of apple cider vinegar in your water. Can't vouch for its health effects, but dang is it tasty.
posted by Charity Garfein at 6:34 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

Recipe for tamarind soda syrup, obviously you don't HAVE to use soda. That version uses pulp, which is pretty easy to order if you can't find it in stores, but this version starts from pods.

Pomegranate molasses is just super-sweet reduced pomegranate juice, and you can play around with additional flavors like ginger and/or orange. Same goes for date syrup.

Torani syrups are used for all kinds of things and some of their flavors are more coffee-facing, but they have tons of fruit flavors and I always keep their vanilla, lemon, strawberry, and almond around for fancying up various drinks. They also make an unflavored sugar syrup if you don't want to make your own simple syrup, for adding to things like tamarind, hibiscus, fruit teas, flavored vinegars etc.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:34 PM on January 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Have you tried the powdered version of Pedialyte? It's got the salt and regular sugar; but I find that diluted at a half strength or even a third, gives enough flavour that I don't get the water yucks.
You are limited to the juvenile flavor palette, but I happen to be fond of a hint of fake grape 'purple' flavor from time to time.
posted by bartleby at 6:38 PM on January 18, 2021

Honey syrup instead of sugar syrup has a ton more flavor and adds a lot of complexity to other flavorings than the flatness of sugar. Just do half honey, half water, heat it gently and stir until completely dissolved (I do like fifteen seconds in the microwave a few times) and then keep it around to mix into your water. It is important to use good honey, look for locally sourced ones, avoid the bears. Honey syrup pairs beautifully with cold brewed roasted barley tea. Also amazing with every kind of fruit infusion. Blackberry honey water! Lime honey water!
posted by Mizu at 7:00 PM on January 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

I love the “True” lineup of citrus powders. Real dehydrated/crystallized fruit, with nothing else. TrueLime. TrueLemon. TrueGrapefruit. TrueOrange. Delicious in ice water.
posted by Jazz Hands at 7:02 PM on January 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

Look up drinking shrubs and use your favorite herbs/spices/fruits in rotation.
posted by dancing leaves at 7:03 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

How do you feel about cucumber?
posted by Candleman at 7:05 PM on January 18, 2021 [3 favorites]

I love Teisseire syrup. Comes in lots of flavors, but I like the lemon and lime best. The mint is pretty good too.
posted by holborne at 7:06 PM on January 18, 2021

Recently discovered: one peppermint hard candy either dropped in the water bottle or dissolved in a cup of hot water.
posted by serendipityrules at 7:17 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

You can get little bottles of unsweetened ginger juice, a little goes a long way. Also just a slice/squeeze of citrus is great. Or a virgin mojito (mint, lime, sweetener).
posted by expialidocious at 7:47 PM on January 18, 2021

I like Prince of Peace ginger packets, also might be found at your local Asian market.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:47 PM on January 18, 2021

Dried mint tea, steeped in the smallest amount of hot water you can get away with, then mixed with cold/iced water. I don't even like mint much, but I enjoy drinking this.

Note: Normally I'd recommend cold-steeping for tea you're going to drink cold, but it never tastes right with mint.
posted by rhiannonstone at 8:17 PM on January 18, 2021

Slice of lemon & sprig of rosemary is a great combo.
posted by inexorably_forward at 8:19 PM on January 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

i put a few drops of orange or lime extract in a tall glass of water. subtle, but def imparts the citrus fragrance and tang. not sweet at all, so you'll have to augment if you need sweet.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:56 PM on January 18, 2021

Every morning I drink two big mason jars of water, with 1/2 of a powdered pedialyte packet in each one, and it has been life changing in terms of preventing early morning fatigue and sluggishness and headaches. The flavor is not too strong that way, if I follow the prep instructions from pedialyte it's way too sweet for me. Sometimes I will use Nuun tablets instead if they are on sale, they have no sugar and a much milder water-enhancing flavor to me. That may be too much electrolytes for you though.

I also like blending some lime juice and a bit of cucumber (peeled) and mint leaves in water. I don't sweeten it, but you could
posted by zdravo at 9:26 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I like the lemonade flavored Mio.
posted by Rad_Boy at 9:33 PM on January 18, 2021

All last summer, I went through bottle after bottle of lime juice. Just a smidge in a glass of ice water is all you need, and it's pretty refreshing. Lemon juice is fine, but I prefer lime any day.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:57 PM on January 18, 2021 [2 favorites]

Ikea has an elderflower syrup I enjoy for this purpose.

If you like herbal teas, drink up, it's hydrating !

In general I drink bubly carbonated water (I also hate LaCroix and flavoured Perrier) it's decent, strongly flavored and I enjoy it. It doesn't have artificial sweeteners. Spindrift as well which is carbonated water with a splash of fruit juices. So of you like water with a bit of grapefruit, orange, rasberry or other flavors with no additional sweeteners, you'll likely like spindrift (the fruit juice does have some sugar).
posted by AlexiaSky at 11:42 PM on January 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I find most "flavor water", esp. La Croix, completely flavorless. They all taste like seltzer water to me.

I personally use Mio, but it's got artificial stuff in it.
posted by kschang at 10:12 AM on January 19, 2021

You are limited to the juvenile flavor palette,

An excellent way to grow-up a too-candy-ish flavor is a drop of almond extract. This is the secret weapon in fancy alcohol-free party punches like the ones based on 7-up and sherbert/sorbet that would be incredibly cloying but for the almond. There are a wide variety of extracts now that might also add dimension to a plain flavor - coconut, lemon, grapefruit, mint.

If you're not opposed to a drop of alcohol, Fee's makes a bunch of great bitters that are not herbal (which I do not like, maybe you do). Rhubarb is our house standard (found it randomly in a Las Vegas liquor store, can't find it nearby so I order it online) for adulting-up a low/no-alcohol drink, but orange is also great and easier to find on shelves.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:34 AM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've ordered various "flavor enhancers" for water from Amazon over the years. Went through Water Drops (always arrived having leaked in the package) and Dasani Drops (dyed and spotty availability). Settled on Stur (many flavors but I just do Strawberry-Watermelon). Stevia-based for those who care what's in it (I don't). Few drops in the bottle and you're good to go.
posted by commander_fancypants at 11:08 AM on January 19, 2021

1/4 cranberry juice in a pint glass of water is super tasty. If you're used to really sugary undiluted juice, it will taste bland at first, but you'll get used to it. In the beginning you can eat something salty with it- the contrast will help your tongue find the sweetness.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 11:09 AM on January 19, 2021 [1 favorite]

In Canada. Hydralyte is similar to pedialyte but they come in tubes of effervescent tablets (they're not very bubbly at all, they just dissolve that way) or packets of powder. Their flavours are more "grown up" and not cloying or overly "artificial."

I like 1 tablet: 400mL of water, which is a 1/3 to 1/4 strength.

How are you with caffeine? There's a couple of green oolongs that I really like (Iron Buddha of Mercy, and there's a newish varietal called "Milk Oolong" that smells and tastes a little like milk) that I will make ice tea with. I re-steep some loose leaf in a French press until I get about 2L in a container (I drink the first cup/ half-press hot, the first steep extracts most of the caffeine) and put into the fridge after its cooled. I let subsequent steeps go on longer to extract more flavour.

Be careful if your flavoured water has sugar in it - keep in the fridge and once out, consume within an hour or two.
posted by porpoise at 12:21 PM on January 19, 2021

I add a splash of blueberry pom to my plain or appropriately-flavored seltzer water, and it REALLY ups the ante on flavor, without adding too much sugar. It also makes me feel like I'm drinking a cocktail, which for me is good.
posted by nosila at 1:31 PM on January 19, 2021

We keep a bottle of 100% juice in the fridge and add a splash to glasses of water, just enough for it to get a little colorful. Super cheap and pretty tasty. It's kept me hydrated through pregnancy and it keeps our preschooler hydrated without me worrying that we're asking for cavity-riddled baby teeth.
posted by The Librarian at 4:43 PM on January 19, 2021

I second AlexiaSky's recommendation for Spindrift. When I heard people raving about LaCroix a few years ago, I felt as if the superlatives they were using actually describe Spindrift--crisp, light, non-cloying. Unlike other flavored seltzers, Spindrift has real flavor and refreshment. It's not all in the nose.

I'd recommend lime or half & half, which is like an unsweetened Arnold Palmer.
posted by cursed at 1:19 PM on January 20, 2021

Seconding cocktail bitters. They can add a lot of depth and complexity (but also a very small amount of alcohol, if that's an issue). Shrubs/drinking vinegars can also be a great option, especially if you're trying to avoid sugary syrups and like tart/tangy.
posted by silentbicycle at 6:54 PM on January 20, 2021

Kool-Aid unsweetened packets are pretty good for this. You supply the sugar so you can sweeten it as much as you like, and if you like ice cubes but hate watered-down drinks you can add less water and make it more of a concentrate. Avoid the kid-targeted flavors, though; they're pretty gross.
posted by stefanie at 5:55 PM on January 30, 2021

What's interesting would be make ice out of that concentrate. If you need something, pop a cute or two into regular water. Instant cold flavored water. :)
posted by kschang at 2:01 AM on January 31, 2021

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