I'm not very good at remembering to drink water. A count of the glasses that I drink on a daily basis often doesn't move beyond two, never mind the eight that's recommended. But like most things, if I put a little bit of effort into the ritual, I find myself taking gulps more regularly.
Whether you're trying to increase your own water intake or impress guests with a fancified version of a classic refreshment, these two herbal waters will elevate drinking water from a mere necessity to a veritable pleasure.
Photographs by Erin Boyle.
While I was visiting my parents in Connecticut over the weekend, I took advantage of their green thumbs and ample herb garden to make two herbal waters that are perfect for late spring. Additions of sweet woodruff, stevia, and strawberry made a sweet thirst quencher, while lovage, lemon balm, and lemon peel made one that was as bright as it was refreshing.
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To make the first herbal water, I decided on a non-alcoholic riff on the classic German May Wine and gathered sweet woodruff, stevia, and a handful of fresh strawberries.
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Sweet woodruff is a delightful herb that likes to carpet shady spots under trees. I used both the flowers and the leaves in my water.
After picking a few stems of sweet woodruff from a patch in my parents' yard, I let the flowers wilt a bit before adding water. Wilting makes the slightly sweet scent of the flowers more pronounced.
Next, I harvested a stem of stevia. Stevia is an innocuous-looking herb with a very sweet secret. Often used in a powdered form as a sugar replacement, its leaves can also be used to lend a sweet note to cooking.
To make a quart of water I pinched five or six stevia leaves and slightly bruised them with the back of a wooden spoon to release their essential oils.
The first strawberries of the season are just cropping up in farmers' markets. I added five to a quart of water.
I sliced the strawberries thinly and added them to my quart jar along with the stevia and sweet woodruff.