Have you ever gone most of the day only to realize that a drop of water has yet to touch your lips? If you’re thinking ‘yup, that sounds like me’ to yourself… thank you! I am so glad I’m not the only one. Whether it slips my mind or I do actually look at my boring old water bottle (but then don’t fill it) it seems like there is always something that keeps me from staying hydrated. So, at the beginning of last year, I made a resolution to drink more water.

The biggest thing I learned was to bring some inspiration to my hydration. The best way to get myself to drink more was to make it fun and delicious – more of a treat rather than a chore. During winter especially, I started to find that it became a moment to pause and refresh. After a year of experimenting, here are some of my favorite ways to get creative with hydration:

Start with a simple base

  • Good old dihydrogen monoxide (anyone else find this funny?!), hot or cold
  • Plain or flavored sparkling water
  • Unsweetened tea for an herbal, earthy note

Add a splash of 100% fruit juice for flavor, color, and nutrients

  • Pomegranate juice is a beautiful ruby color
  • Apple cider is a sweet, seasonal  winter option
  • Pear juice offers a unique twist
  • Sparkling juices  keep things bubbly
  • A fresh squeeze of lemon, lime, or grapefruit brightens flavors up

Fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs take it to the next level

  • Pomegranate seeds are seasonal for winter and look like gems
  • Fresh berries look darling floating in your glass
  • Citrus peels or slices scream sunshine during dreary winter days
  • Sliced cucumber tricks your brain into thinking “spa day”
  • Sliced ginger and lemon slices steep beautifully in hot water or tea
  • Cinnamon stick, whole cloves, or star anise are fragrant additions to hot water or tea
  • Basil, mint, thyme, and rosemary can be muddled* into a drink for flavor, or used as a garnish to bring a fresh aroma to your nose as you take a sip

What does muddle mean? Muddling means pressing fruit or herbs into the side of a glass or cocktail shaker. This releases the flavor and oils from the fresh ingredient into your drink.

Balance flavors with a dash of bitters (optional, but definitely the cool thing to do)

  • Bitters bring a floral, bitter note to balance out sweet and sour flavors
  • They come in a variety of flavors, so pick one or two to try
  • A little bit goes a long way! Just a couple drops will do

What are bitters? Think of bitters the way you think of vanilla extract. It’s alcohol that is strongly infused with flavors from herbs, spices, fruits, roots, or really any flavorful plant. Bitters are meant to be used in tiny amounts and don’t contribute a significant amount of alcohol (just like vanilla). Bitters can also be used to add flavor to your cooking! You can add a few drops to sauces or use in place of vanilla extract when baking.

Hopefully these ideas encourage you to take your drink choices from meh to mmm. Remember that being a work-in-progress is 100% perfect. I’ve been working on this for a year and I still have days where I forget to drink enough, and that’s okay. It’s not like you can make a fancy drink all the time. Takeaways: Do your best. Try to have fun. Cheers to healthy hydration!

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