More water? Do yourself a flavour

Kiwifruit and Vietnamese mint; cucumber, lime and mint; frozen blueberries and lemon; pineapple...
Kiwifruit and Vietnamese mint; cucumber, lime and mint; frozen blueberries and lemon; pineapple and fresh ginger; watermelon and mint. PHOTOS ASHLEY HEYWARD
Every New Year,  I vow to drink more water. Anyone else? It is not the most fun thing to do, so to make it easier I use fruits to flavour the water and serve them in a wineglass with appealing garnishes, writes Fiona McLaren.
	Fiona McLaren
Fiona McLaren


Whether it’s just for me or I’m making them for friends, not only are they tastier they are more exciting and don’t actually take that much more effort.

Challenging myself to create more combinations and using what is seasonal is also important. 

At work, we have been sharing ideas and showing off our water bottles or whipping up a jug for the office.

Simply steep the fruit in still or sparkling water for 10 minutes before serving - the longer the fruit sits, the stronger the flavour.



Seasonal shrubs

My fridge is also full of shrubs.  Shrubs are a mix of vinegar, sugar and fruit.  Steep fruit in a vinegar and sugar solution overnight, then strain and discard the fruit.  The vinegar preserves the liquid so it easily keeps for a month in the fridge.

I have experimented with all types of vinegars (red  wine, white wine, apple cider and sherry vinegars are much stronger and give a faint aftertaste much like kombucha does; white vinegar is much crisper and not as easy to detect) and sugars (molasses sugar, coconut, dark, soft brown and raw will darken the liquid. White, stevia, jackfruit and other  sugars naturally lighter in colour don’t affect the colour but the natural alternatives sweeten but don’t tend to dissolve as well as sugars).

I use shrubs to flavour still or sparking water, but they are also an excellent way to get acid into alcoholic beverages without using citrus fruits.

The recipe is easy and foolproof!

Choose a jar (any size). Measuring by eye, fill it one-third with sugar/sweetener.

Then fill to two-thirds full with your choice of vinegar or a combination of vinegars before adding the fruit.

Leave overnight (24 hours is max for the maceration as the fruit can start to sour the liquid if left longer and it won’t last as long in the fridge) before straining into a fresh, clean bottle or jar and refrigerate.

For an alcoholic twist with your shrub try these:


Autumn Pride

4 rosemary leaves
4 lemon wedges
3 dashes Angostura bitters
15ml sugar syrup
45ml bourbon
15ml Cointreau
15ml pineapple shrub
90ml apple juice

Muddle rosemary, lemon, Angostura bitters and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add bourbon, Cointreau, pineapple shrub and apple juice. Then shake and strain over ice in a tall or short glass.





Spiced Doris

30ml Campari
30ml Black Doris plum shrub
Top up with lemonade.

Build over ice in a tall glass.

Tamarillo Tingle

30ml vanilla vodka
30ml tamarillo shrub
15ml kiwifruit shrub
Top up with soda.

Build over ice in a tall glass.

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