Quest Week 4: Water Variations

Although things are changing in the hospitality industry, a quick glance at the menu still often ends in a resigned 'Have a drink'. If you don't feel like fizzy and sweet, and alcohol is on the red list for a while, water is often the only non-alcoholic alternative on the menu that won't ruin your taste buds. Although I must confess: there is hope. I am pleasantly surprised that the restaurant where I eat this week has no fewer than three different non-alcoholic wines on the menu. In an earlier blog, however, I already mentioned that I also avoid those 0.0% drinks during Lent, because they look too much like the real thing and because of that there is something of 'hunger'. I stick to water.

To be honest, the water is now happily gusting out of my nose. For me as a long-distance walker, water is a primary necessity of life, but after fifteen kilometers and a liter I sometimes feel like something different, by the way, even when I'm out for dinner. The great thing is that you can easily upgrade a boring glass of water with a little creativity into a surprising refreshment. Perhaps they are somewhat open doors, but as long as there are restaurants that do have mint tea and ginger tea on the menu, but no cold water with mint and/or ginger, I have a mission.

That mission starts at home, of course, and I encourage everyone to experiment with their own favorite or available ingredients.

The following combinations are recommended in the refreshing thirst quencher category:

Mint, cucumber and lime. Basil, strawberry and lemon. Rosemary and grapefruit. Basil, apple and cucumber. Coriander and orange.

For those who need a little more spice, these are some recipes for full fruity herbal drinks:

Lavender, blueberries and lime. Cinnamon and apple. Star anise and orange. Coriander and mango. Mint, ginger and lime. Sage and blackberries.

And then some general tips:

  • It's better to make a whole pitcher than a single glass. Many of these drinks taste better after at least half an hour (or even better all night).
  • Although the eye likes a clean sprig of herbs and a neatly cut piece of fruit, the taste benefits from bruising and jacking here and there. See how you can engage both senses by putting some bruised stuff in the pitcher and garnishing the glass with fresh ingredients. Or serve a pestle in the glass.
  • Don't forget to put a bamboo straw in the glass.
  • If it's really hot, you naturally want a handful of crushed ice with it.
  • And again: experiment with a lot of fun.

And if you're eating out: Remember that most restaurants have a refrigerator full of fresh herbs, fruits and fruit. So: don't feel like boring water? Give a hint to the waiter: 'Can I have some water with cucumber and basil?' When cafes and restaurants realize what sea of possibilities they have without them, it is inevitable that the drink cards will get a page here and there in the near future.

Margreet (51) lives with her husband and teenage son in the middle of the country. She is now an experienced IkPasser, and during 40 days she is not looking for alcohol-free alternatives that make her happy.…



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