Sunday, 31 July 2011

How to make tap water taste good

I was blogging this week for The Guardian about soft drinks - mainly from the point of view of what to drink when you don't drink alcohol. One of the points that came up, however, is how expensive many soft drinks are - volume for volume, often as much as wine.

It prompted me to point out (in the unlikely event that you're not already aware of it) how good basic tap water can taste if you tart it up a bit. Step one obviously being to chill it and add some extra ice cubes then to add some extra ingredients as they did in this hotel I stayed in in Chile (above) where they flavoured it with peaches, melon and strawberries.

Coils of cucumber also look cool: simply halve a cucumber, peel it and trim off the end then cut it in fine slices with a mandolin or vegetable peeler and drop them in. Lemon and lime obviously taste good too: so much better - and cheaper - than those artificially flavoured waters.

Serving it in a water jug or decanter - easily picked up from a charity shop - makes it look swish too.

If you prefer your water fizzy - which I sometimes do - it's worth shopping around. Sainsbury's own brand sparkling water for example is just 40p for 2 litres compared to 69p for the same amount in the Co-op and £1.01 for a 750ml bottle of San Pellegrino, which is over five times as expensive. If you give it the same treatment (added citrus or other fruits) you really won't notice the difference unless you're a mineral water geek.


rosalie said...

In season a well washed head of elderflowers perk up tap water possibly with a squeeze of lemon or lime

Fiona Beckett said...

That's a great idea, Rosalie. I've never tried that.

UK Dining said...

Thank goodness tap water has become acceptable at last. Ice cubes with slivers of lemon and lime rind frozen in them are nice added to a jug of water too.

Catherine said...

If you like sparkling water, I'd recommend investing in a soda stream. Greener than buying endless plastic bottles from the supermarket and much cheaper in the long run. I don't bother with the expensive and foul tasting syrups, just make water, then drink as is, use it as a mixer (I like the taste of many spirits with a splash of soda instead of tonic etc.) or use it to dilute cordial.

Fiona Beckett said...

Nice idea too @UK Dining. Or borage flowers should you happen to grow them.

And fair point about the Sodastream Catherine although it's a bit of an outlay to start with. Makes sense for a household that drinks a lot of fizzy water though.

Robert said...

Like the idea of soda stream. Would it work on fruit juices?

I like homemade rhubarb lemonade as it uses up excess rhubarb juice from cooking. And of course value sparkling water refrigerated and left to infuse with lemon peel, Ginger slices and mint leaves.

Fiona Beckett said...

Ginger sounds a great addition, Robert. Must try that.