It’s August, we’re drinking a lot of water, but we’d like something a little more interesting and refreshing as well!
Spa Water Virgin Cosmopolitan
Kombucha and Tonic Haymakers Switchel
it’s hot. Humid. Hazy. I seem to be drinking a lot of water, but not always feeling refreshed. At dinner, I like filling a pitcher with water and adding lemon, or cucumber. It adds just a little interest and makes that seventh or eighth glass of water a little more interesting,
Something a little different
It’s also fun to play around with those cocktails we think of as refreshing, such as gin and tonic. I love kombucha, and have discovered it adds a lovely vibrancy to a mixed drink yet only adds a very small amount of alcohol. I’ve used it here in two drinks instead of the spirits!
Basic Spa Water
My daughter and I try to make it to the spa each spring for a day of uninterrupted time together, pampering, and a healthy lunch. We time it for a special treat between my birthday (March) and hers (April) when we are just moving out of snow and into mud season. Alas, not this year because of the global situation, but next year if we are lucky!
One of the things we love when we are there are the beautiful carafes of spa water, usually cucumber or lemon. It’s so easy to remember to hydrate when you’re practically bumping into this beautiful water at every turn! It is always billed as being a detox beverage, and that may be true. I do know it tastes good and I drink more water!
It is really easy to make, and there’s no reason it can’t beckon to us right from our own refrigerators all year long. There’s always a pitcher of water waiting at dinnertime, and a little lemon or cucumber dresses it up.
This is my basic recipe, borrowed from my daughter-in-law, but you can change it up with whatever you have. Although there’s really no real need for a recipe, just slice things up and put them in the water.
- 2 liters of water
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 knob ginger, bruised
- 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
Mix everything together and let set for an hour. If folks are thirsty, you can refill the jug with water and get a second time around!
Use just lemon, or just cucumber, there is not right or wrong here. I absolutely love ginger infused water, just the water and ginger and nothing else.
A World of Options ––now experiment: You can add any citrus you like, lemon and lime together are great, and grapefruit is particularly refreshing. Mint is also wonderful here, as are many other fruits such as strawberries or peaches. How about a jalapeño pepper? Watermelon? Pineapple? Are there other herbs you love?
Look for all organic vegetables since a lot of the pesticides in conventionally grown produce accumulates and resides in the skin.
A cosmopolitan is a pretty and flavorful cocktail. If you are looking for an almost cocktail of the same type of flavor, this one’s for you. This recipe uses kombucha rather than the vodka to almost eliminate the alcohol. Although most kombucha has a tiny amount of alcohol, there are brands that are alcohol free if you can’t have any alcohol. If not, the traditional adds a nice little zing on its own.
- 6 oz. kombucha, orange or tangerine
- 2 oz. cranberry juice
- 2 oz. fresh lime juice
- Orange zest
Mix everything together in a shaker filled with ice and shake until the outside is cold. Strain and pour into glasses. Garnish with orange zest.
As refreshing as the original
Kombucha and Tonic
My favorite! Once in a blue moon, I like a gin and tonic on a hot August afternoon. Nothing is more refreshing. However, I might not always want the alcohol.
The most refreshing aspect of a traditional gin and tonic is the lime juice! We’ve substituted kombucha for the gin and bumped up the lime juice. A fragrant little sprig of rosemary adds an interesting element as you sip.
- 4 oz. Kombucha, citrus
- 4 oz. fresh lime juice
- 6 to 8 oz. tonic water
- Lime wedges to garnish
- Fresh rosemary branches, optional
Add ice cubes to your glasses. Mix kombucha and lime juice and pour in the glasses. Add the tonic water, and garnish.
When I was a child, once in a while someone in the family made haymakers switchel. I didn’t care for it much as a kid, but a few years ago, I thought it might be worth revisiting.
I fiddled with this recipe for a long time trying to make it taste just like what I remembered from my childhood. However, I think the problem was that as an adult, I have a totally different palate, so what I thought was horrible then, actually tastes good to me now.
Also called haymaker’s punch, from Colonial times on, farmers in New England drank this as a sort of early version of an electrolyte-rich sports drink to keep from getting dehydrated when out in the fields, and often stashed a jug of it under one of the shade trees allowed to grow around the fields. The mixture was made of water, cider vinegar, ginger, and whatever sweetener they had on hand, either molasses (the most traditional), honey, or maple syrup.
All grown up now, switchel has now found its way to market shelves and trendy menus, often with the addition of a spirit. The addition of the spirits is nothing new. Indeed, the Old Farmers Almanac reported in its 1962 edition, that switchel was a favorite drink in Colonial times with the addition of rum.
The molasses can be overpowering in this drink so I settled on the honey to sweeten. I think the addition of the lemons is essential! Also, a little lightly bruised peppermint enhances the flavor when added at the end. If you like, add a bit of dark rum, just to keep the tradition alive.
A smoldering hot day, the switchel is refreshing and vibrant and quenches the thirst beautifully, even though we’re not out in the fields making hay.
- 2 liters water
- 1/4 cup finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- Fresh mint, optional
Bring the water to a simmer and add the fresh and ground gingers.
Set aside until room temperature.
Add the vinegar and maple syrup along with the sliced lemons and salt.
Mix well and chill for a couple of hours, strain, and serve. You can also add a little fresh mint!
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