I never truly appreciated the genius of infused waters until I was in New York City this summer smack in the middle of a heat wave. The hotel we stayed in provided a large urn of water in the lobby in which various fruits floated; some days it was cucumber and cantaloupe, other days lemon and orange. We drank a cup or two on the way out, and once again on our return. It was so easy—and delicious—to stay hydrated!
Now that I’m back home, with lots of fruits and herbs to use up, I decided to try to make my own. I had a flat of peaches ripening faster than I could use them, so I sliced some up and figured that they’d probably pair well with sprigs of rosemary from my gigantic bush. Coincidentally, that same day, I was paging through Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings by Leela Cyd, and she had a whole page on “Spa Waters.” Sure enough, she used peach in one recipe, though with ginger instead of rosemary. Use whatever you have on hand. It’s super simple to make: just slice up the fruit (she recommends one medium peach cut into large slices per liter of water, but I used two), add the herbs (I used two sprigs of fresh rosemary), fill with room-temperature water in a glass pitcher or some kind of clear vessel, and let steep in the sun for an hour. The result was delicious served over ice—and the flavors of both the peach and the rosemary came through in perfect balance. Since I used extra fruit, when we ran out of the infusion, I simply added more water and steeped again. My whole family has been drinking it nonstop!
I also tried Cyd’s Blackberry-Sage infusion (20 fresh blackberries and 8 fresh sage leaves). It was much more subtly flavored, so I mashed up the blackberries a bit. Another favorite combo of mine is pineapple-basil or pineapple-mint. Experiment and get your eight glasses of water a day via summery-good ingredients. If you want to be fancy, spoon some of the fruit and herbs into your glass.
For more delicious, spa waters, check out Food with Friends.