I’m not good at remembering to drink water. The number of glasses I drink on a daily basis often doesn’t move beyond two–never mind the recommended eight. But like most things, if I put some effort into the ritual, I find myself taking gulps more regularly.
Whether you’re trying to increase your own liquid 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.
During a weekend visit to my parents in Connecticut, I took advantage of their ample herb garden to concoct two herbal waters that are perfect for early summer. A mix of sweet woodruff, stevia, and strawberry made a sweet thirst quencher, while lovage, lemon peel, and lemon balm made one that was as bright as it was refreshing.
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For my first herbal water, I did a non-alcoholic riff on the classic German May Wine. The ingredients: sweet woodruff, stevia, and a handful of fresh strawberries.
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Sweet woodruff is an herb that carpets shady spots under trees. I picked a few stems from the patch in my parents’ yard, and used both the flowers and the leaves to make my water.
First, I let the woodruff flowers wilt a little to make their slightly sweet scent more pronounced.
Next, I picked a stem of stevia. An innocuous-looking herb with a very sweet secret, it’s often used in powdered form as a sugar substitute. The leaves can also lend a sweet note to cooking.
I pinched five or six stevia leaves and slightly bruised them with the back of a wooden spoon to release their essential oils. Then I added them to my quart jar.
For the best flavor, I got strawberries from the farmers’ market.
I sliced five strawberries thinly and added them to the stevia and sweet woodruff in my quart jar.