How I Make Tap Water More Appealing (Really!)

Kitchen Diaries: Kate in New York City

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In the summertime, especially at parties, it's easy to get in the routine of drinking lots of refreshing beverages that also happen to be, ahem, quite alcoholic. How many times does one have to forget that rosé is not in fact a substitute for water, is not in fact hydrating, and should probably not be consumed all afternoon sans food in 90 degree heat, before learning one's lesson? (Totally not speaking from experience here, guys.)

To combat this, I've been trying out a few new refreshing, non-alcoholic beverages lately.

All this summer, the mantra in my house has been, "If you make it, they will drink it." Now, before you start looking for Kevin Costner to emerge from between the milk carton and the mustard, let me explain.

How many times at a party or even in your own house, are the non-alcoholic options so absolutely unappealing in comparison to the alcoholic items? Really, how can a class of tap water even try to compete with a muddled fruity cocktail or a glass of bubbly prosecco with one of those cute little raspberries bobbing around?

But, let's say I offer you an iced mint green tea or a sparkling lemonade or even a tap water that's dressed up with lemons and cucumbers and in a really beautiful glass? If the options are around, I will almost certainly take one of those very interesting looking non-alcoholic options. If they're not, I'll reach for whatever seems easiest, most refreshing, and most exciting.

Sure, everything in moderation. The same rules apply with soda and sugary beverages — it's not great to be drinking those in excess either.

The past few weeks, I've been brewing and chilling blends of interesting teas - chamomile and hibiscus together, black tea with a bit of chai, or green tea with a dab of honey. After that, I make a sort of lemonade simple syrup:

1 cup water plus 1 cup sugar dissolved to make simple syrup, plus 1 to 1.5 cup lemon juice

... depending on how tart we want. By keeping this lemonade concentrate in the fridge, we can easily create a fizzy lemonade or add a splash to iced black tea. Even having a pitcher of tap water in the fridge, with a bit of fresh mint floating in the bottom goes a long way. Besides all this being ridiculously easy, it's great for a tight budget.

What are your favorite drinks to keep around the house in summer?

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Kitchen Diary: Kate in New York City

(Image credits: Laure Joliet)