Looking for a good Alternative to Soda?

by Michelle on February 23, 2011

I know this is a strange day to post about a refreshing, cold beverage, being we’re in a midst of a Snow Advisory but I’ve been drinking Orange Blossoms with Cranberry and Mint all day long and it’s just too good not to share.

I started making Infused Waters out of necessity. Being a poor college student and wanting some variety in my daily menu, I just took fresh fruit and picked some mint that was growing wild on campus and let it ferment for a few hours in ice cold water. But I had no idea that my inexpensive yet delicious beverage actually had roots in Spanish Cuisine a.k.a Aguas Frescas or Fresh (cold) Water! Aguas Frescas is super easy to make. Just slice up some fruit, I like citrus the best, add a few sprigs of mint and place all of it in a pitcher, add water and chill. That’s it.

But you can make it more complicated by adding several different fruits or herbs. I particularly like to use the Flavored Waters already on the market in place of just plain tap or bottled water. You can find a huge variety of Flavored Waters on your supermarket shelves; Cucumber, Hibiscus, Honeydew, Mango, Raspberry, Lemon, Lime, Strawberry, Pomegranate, Pear and the list goes on and on. Most flavored waters are naturally flavored, crystal clear and contain no sugar so the taste is very light and refreshing. I just love Raspberry Water….so good all by itself but infused with some fresh orange slices and mint, it is down right yummy!

Sometimes I like to add a tsp or so of Rose Water to give the beverage a delicious fragrance. Or prepare some Filled Ice Cubes for more flavors and color. I prefer to serve Infused Waters in a stemless wine glass because the fruit and herbs fit so well. Stemless wine glasses are not expensive and I think I picked up my set for $.99 each at World Market. And look at how gorgeous this beverage is and it is so easy!

If you’re serving this to a group of people, have a few pitchers infusing in the refrigerator for refills. And since this is a rather “clean” beverage, meaning no residue on the interior of the glass, you can just refill the glass from an ice cold pitcher of goodness. And there’s no need to replace the garnish because it will stay fresh in the cold water.

I must have refilled this same glass 8 or 9 times and look…no residue at all!

Infused waters work out very well for large gatherings, wedding or baby showers, birthdays and 4th of July. And it’s also nice to have a non-alcohol based beverage on hand. And as long as I brought up alcohol, Infused Waters are a perfect “morning after” beverage to quench your thirst following a long night of celebrating, if you know what I mean!

On a side note: Don’t forget to enter my latest giveaway for a Deluxe Bean and Seed Sprouting Kit. All you need to do is leave a comment and let me know how you like to eat sprouts!

Fresh Orange Blossom Frescas
Recipe developed by BigBlackDog

1 orange (I used the small California Navel Oranges because they have less bitter pith)
1-2 sprigs of fresh mint
Cranberry-filled Ice Cubes
Water

Slice orange into sections and remove pits. Place fruit in a pitcher. Add mint. Cover with water. Allow to infuse for at least two hours before serving. Garnish each glass with slices of fruit and mint.

Herb-infused Spa Water
Recipe adapted from “Sunset” Magazine

6 cups chilled water or mineral water
12 slices unpeeled cucumbers (thin slices)
4 slices lemons (thin slices)
4 sprigs fresh mint, 2 inches long,slightly crushed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 inches long,slightly crushed

Combine all ingredients in a 2 to 2 1/2 quart pitcher, cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably 6 to 8 hours.

Pineapple-Mint Infused Water
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

1/4 pineapple, peeled and cut into triangles
8 to 10 mint leaves
Water

Place 8 cups water in a pitcher or large bowl. Add pineapple and mint leaves. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before using. Keep refrigerated up to 2 days. Strain before serving.

AllRightsReserved@BigBlackDog

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Comments

  • Julie February 23, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    That looks so refreshing, and pretty too!

  • Maryanne February 24, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Nice Michelle. I started doing this years ago after visiting a spa for the day that served this. One of my favorites was the cucmber infused.

    Love reading your posts….love your pictures.

  • Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food February 24, 2011 at 6:20 am

    This is an absolutely genius idea, Michelle, good for any time of day, anywhere, and whether one has imbibed too much the night before or not. I’ve got all of the ingredients needed for your orange blossom and herb infused versions in my garden or fridge now and can’t wait to try this this afternoon. And if I’m smart, I’ll sub this for my usual happy hour cocktail too!

  • Lana @ Never Enough Thyme February 24, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I love agua fresca! And your combination of orange, mint and cranberries sounds wonderful. I also like a version with cucumber and basil. As you say, it’s very refreshing and restorative after an evening of indulgence.

  • kat February 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I’m so into making my own flavored waters & sodas these days too especially now that I have a Soda Stream to carbonate the water

  • Lori E February 24, 2011 at 8:47 am

    It is amazing how well cucumber infused water refreshes you. I use it on the hottest days of summer and it is always fabulous.

  • clarice February 24, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Beautiful! Will you link back to this when the weather warms up as a reminder?

  • Feast on the Cheap February 24, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I love that you used to pick wild mint at college! Quite a resourceful young co-ed.

  • My Carolina Kitchen February 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    So refreshing. I don’t drink sodas, but I do drink a lot of water. I’ll definitely give these beauties a try.
    Sam

  • Ryan February 24, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    What a fantastic idea, who says students are lazy sods.
    It looks delicious.

  • Amanda February 24, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    This is lovely Michelle, I’m a water person. I don’t like soda, so flavored waters are definitely my thing.

  • Delishhh February 24, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    This is awesome. I have a hard time just drinking plain water so today i put cucumbers in my water and love it, so this is just my type of water. Nice work and the pictures are amazing.

  • Dionne Baldwin February 26, 2011 at 1:34 am

    This does sound refreshing! It doesn’t matter that there is ice in the ground, I’ll turn up the heat! I don’t mind water but sometimes a little flavor is a very nice change! Thank you for sharing this!

  • deeba March 1, 2011 at 9:17 am

    GREAT idea Michelle. I love the ‘happiness’ in the glasses, and ever so refreshing!

  • Alison March 2, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Fabulous! Love it

  • Katie March 4, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    The presentation is lovely! Love the colors and the variety of options… you’re right, a great alternative to soda. Thank you!

  • Rose March 5, 2011 at 4:50 am

    I found this post via Stumble Upon and just had to try the Orange Blossom version, I added about 6 small strawberries sliced up and made pomegranate filled ice cubes as I had the pomegranate in the fridge already. It’s delicious and I’ll definitely be making this again and again :)

    • Michelle March 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Rose,

      Thanks for getting back to me about your success with the Orange Blossom Frescas. It is good, isn’t it! And you can be as creative as you want!

      Michelle

  • sophistimom April 25, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I don’t think it’s a crazy post. I think the weather is crazy. It’s April 25, and it’s still cold and rainy here, and it’s still snowing in the mountains. I say we drink summery water as much as we can! They’re so beautiful, and I keep meaning to do something similar, and just set it out on the dining room table everyday after school.

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