Water infused with lemon, cucumbers, mint and ginger are about the only way I'll regularly drink water. (Brandy Baker / The Detroit News)
A former Diet Coke-aholic, I reduced my artificial sweeteners significantly while pregnant, then nursing. I still use them some, but since I don’t want to (a) use them constantly, or (b) get dehydrated (I just can’t keep up on plain water), I was so happy to discover the difference it makes to infuse water with lemon, ginger, cucumber and mint leaves.
I randomly dropped a few pounds upon making it a habit, too.
Legend has it this idea came from “Flat Belly Diet” author Cynthia Sass; as a result I, like many others, call it Sassy Water. But it’s not exactly a new idea, a coworker pointed out. She does something similar with orange slices.
Now this drink isn’t for everyone. My husband disparages it regularly and will NOT refer to it as “Sassy” water (at least not without a great deal of sarcasm; naturally, this makes me offer it to him often to see what kind of comment I can get out of him). I thought I’d find a sure fan in my health-conscious sister Tiffany — I had visions of her serving it in classes for her Florida yoga and wellness business, especially as she first introduced me to the pleasure that is Perrier and lime — but she just said “That sounds like a lot of work for some nasty water, Reen.”
Amusing detractors aside, I love Sassy Water enough to make up a batch several times a week. It is a bit of work — I can’t say I don’t miss the ease of popping open a can, or if I’m to be rigorously honest, that I find this nearly as pleasurable as sweetened beverages. But I can say I don’t miss the pounds that mysteriously went when this came.
1 medium or ½ a large cucumber
A handful of mint leaves (I do 12 large or up to 20 if they’re a combination of sizes)
1 tsp ginger, paste or fresh minced
Using a half gallon container, I slice half the amount of cuke, put in tsp of the ginger paste and half the mint, then half the lemon and repeat. Then I cover the whole thing with water, ideally before dinnertime, and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
I have tried variations on this, including replacing the lemon with orange like that coworker suggested or leaving out the mint when I ran out one time. I just don’t like it as well. Sometimes I also refill the jug without refreshing the ingredients, figuring second-day Sassy Water is better than no Sassy Water; it is, but barely. If you’re going to do that, I highly recommend at least fishing out the mint and replacing it (mint bitters as it browns), and ideally putting in a bit more ginger too.
Speaking of ginger, you can use fresh, if you’re less lazy than I am; I did it that way the first time and man, did I love how my kitchen smelled like sushi after, between the cucumber and the ginger. But I don’t tend to stick to things that aren’t as easy as possible, so it’s paste for me!
By the by, if you, too, think it sounds “like a lot of work for some nasty water,” you might find something more to your liking in Kate’s piece on make-your-own soda or the story we ran recently offering more than 20 nonalcoholic summer drinks.
Do you have a favorite or creative drink for quenching your thirst? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below the recipe. You need a Facebook account to add comments, but they’re free and easy to sign up for, which is how I managed to have one for years and ignore it except for this sort of thing. I’ll be keeping an eye out the next few days to respond to any great comments or questions you post. You can also follow me on Twitter @reentiz. Join the discussion!