I've written before about my beverage issues. I drink mostly water since it's tough to find drinks that excite me.
As a kid, I'd suck down orange juice with breakfast and milk the rest of the day. Sure, I'd flirt with the occasional Coke or root beer on special occasions, or indulge in a Dr. Brown's cream soda at the Heathcote Deli, but beyond that I never went too wild. (I know someone's going to mention Bartles & Jaymes... who will it be?)
As an adult, I find soda way too sweet, hate the taste of diet anything, and can't tolerate caffeine. Where does that leave me? Wine, beer, hard alcohol? Fine, but not during the day. We all deserve healthful, quenching, and interesting drinks to round out our options.
Enter author Brian Preston-Campbell and photographer Jerry Errico, who have just published a book called Cool Waters: 50 Refreshing, Healthy Homemade Thirst Quenchers (Harvard Common Press, 2009). I've seen an advance copy, and it completely scratches my itch.
The first recipe I made was a twist on the book's Key Lime and Vanilla Spritzer, but instead of using a regular orange I used a blood orange for more color. You'll see in my shot above how much it resembles pink lemonade. Don't be fooled, though -- the book's recipes are not sweet, and that's the point. Drinks with flavor, quenchability, and interest, but without sweeteners, caffeine, or artificial anything.
Recipes span the full spectrum, from the straightforward, like Honeydew-Mint Mist (honeydew, mint, and water) to the different (Eau de Carotte with carrots, Granny Smith apples, ginger, water), to the full-on exotic (Thai Red Plum Fizz with plums, star anise, Balinese long peppers, and kaffir lime). Spices, herbs, and fresh-squeezed juices feature prominently.
And guess what? Thanks to the generosity of the folks at The Harvard Common Press, I've got 3 copies to give away to readers. Before Tuesday, just write a couplet or a haiku (thanks to Laurel for the poetry idea) about any beverage at all, and I'll have a special guest judge pick the winners late next week. Enter early, and enter often. You can submit as many as you like.
Here, I'll start things off with a haiku:
Milk in a fat mug
Makes winter seem friendlier
If cocoa's nearby.
-and a couplet-
It's 5-o'clock and the kids both seem fine
I'm getting the corkscrew and cracking the wine.
Okay, so I wouldn't win with those, but the point is to have fun.
Recipe for Key Lime and Vanilla Spritzer with Blood Orange
Adapted from Cool Waters: 50 Refreshing, Healthy Homemade Thirst Quenchers by Brian Preston-Campbell, Harvard Common Press, 2009
I made two minuscule changes to the original recipe: used a blood orange instead of a Valencia, and bottled key lime juice instead of fresh since that's what I had. Be aware that this drink is not sweet, but it is quite refreshing.
Makes 4 servings
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/4 cup key lime juice
Juice of 1 blood orange
4 cups chilled sparkling water
1. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a small bowl and add the pods as well. Add the lime juice and blood orange juice. Cover and steep for anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.
2. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Add the sparkling water and stir. Serve in ice-filled glasses.