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First option to explore is your tap water. I’m in Northwest Indiana. And for the entirety of my childhood, our water was made suitable for drinking using a cocktail of chemicals that was inoffensive. Thus, as a child, I drank tap. No problems.
Went to college in Terre Haute, and the tap water down there was simply awful. So I found myself drinking lots of Not Water. Then, for whatever reason (likely capitalism), the water back home shifted to a new cocktail of cleaners and was absolutely disgusting. Thus after graduation, I found myself still drinking a lot of Not Water.
If your tap water is offensive to you, your first step in the quest for better tasting water is…
Get Better Water
One day Costco had Hinckley in, and I decided then that we absolutely had to rent their water dispenser and have three 5-gallon jugs of water delivered to our home every other week. Eventually, that got too pricey, so we bought our own machine and started refilling the bottles at the grocer.
That’s our current set up. Three 5-gallon jugs last our family of four and one toddler the entire week. We have cold water on demand without sacrificing fridge space. I recognize that might not be a good fit for everyone. There are other options if your tap water is not safe or simply not pleasant to drink. All links are examples. I have not tried them all. They are just linked to give you ideas. As always, procure things as inexpensively as possible even if it’s not from the link.
There are a lot of options at the store. I would suggest getting a gallon or even a larger 3 gallon container to keep in the fridge because, per ounce, this is usually the least expensive option. The 3 gallon containers come with a spigot for direct dispensing. Remember to pierce the container in the back, so the water can actually drain.
Of course, you can always go the individual bottle route. If you’ve never had a particular brand, consider purchasing a single serve bottle first to see if investing in a multi-pack is worth it.
Home water filtration systems come in many shapes, sizes, and prices. If you own your space, it may be worth it to invest in an under the sink filtration system or a whole house water system. Those are the highest priced options with the most intense installation process.
Next options are faucet attachments and fridge pitchers. These are more affordable and filter replacements are easier to find, especially for large, long-lived brands. The faucet attachments go on with little fuss as long as you have a standard faucet. The pitchers require no installation, but you will have to carry them from the sink to the fridge.
With both of these options, consider the cost of the filter replacements and how often they will need to be replaced.
Once you have water that is palatable, you may still get bored with drinking it. That’s OK! Happens to the best of us. Read on for tips of zhuzhing it up.
If you’ve got the time, chop up some water-full fruit and herbs and put them in a pitcher of water overnight. Potential here is endless. My favorite is lime, cucumber, mint. It is THE most refreshing mix of things. It’s like more water per water. Great for summer days.
If you are using citrus, it is best to remove the peel and pith or to remove the fruit from the water after about 8 hours. The pith of citrus fruit will add a bitter flavor to the water if left too long.
If you don’t have time or energy to chop up fresh fruit and infuse, get cold water tea bags. This is my favorite brand right now. They can get a little pricey, but they last me a long time. I bought the multipack about a year ago. I only use one bag per 30 ounces of water, though the package suggests a smaller ratio. Play around and find what works for your tastebuds.
You can also heat and infuse your water. Yes, coffee or tea. Herbal or otherwise.
You’ve probably heard from *gestures wildly* that coffee and tea don’t count. Remember I said you can infuse your cold water with fruit and cold water tea bags? Why wouldn’t hot tea and cinnamon sticks also be hydrating?
Caffeine will cause you to evacuate your bladder more frequently, but not so frequently that it negates the hydration. So don’t feel like coffee doesn’t count. It is still better than the nothing you were imbibing otherwise!
Most of the concern with coffee and tea are the additions. The sweeteners and the creamers and the like. You can cut back on those by using spices. Adding vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder to your coffee grounds for brewing can help cut back on sugar. I don’t know about the creamer cutting back. You can switch to a coconut cream or coconut creamer powder. That’s the closest to heavy whipping cream I’ve gotten. But it is not precisely the same. Mouth feel is different, but not to a devastating degree.
Fizz It Up
Soda! Not pop. Pop has sweeteners, natural or otherwise. Soda is simply fizzy water. Sometimes with flavoring added. Sometimes… OK a lot of times, especially in the summer, flat water, even infused, is just BORING. It does not get me excited. Doesn’t make me happy. But add carbonation? Make it bite a little? I’m in.
There are so many brands of fizzy waters. The most popular (for all the wrong reasons) is LaCroix. I personally am not a fan. Haven’t had a flavor that I like yet maybe.
My favorite brand is Polar. I get multiple packs when they go on sale. Love the black cherry, grapefruit, and lime. There are more exotic flavors, but they’re not sold near me, and I haven’t committed to paying the extra money to have them shipped… yet.
Other faves are Waterloo, Bubly, and Good & Gather (Target’s store brand), in that order. I also have an affinity for HyVida, which is a soda infused with magnesium. I feel like I may not be getting enough magnesium because I don’t eat 7 metric tons of spinach or other dark leafies a week. And the magnesium supplement I bought helped for approximately two days before it backfired. So I get a few cans of HyVida each week and use those to help me along.
Finally, you can buy a secondhand SodaStream. I guess you can buy it new. I bought mine secondhand because I wanted a particular model that was not fiscally responsible of me to purchase at that season of life. Replacing the carbonation canisters is sometimes a barrier to use for me, so I rarely use it. But it is there in case I run out of Polar.
Bubly makes flavoring drops for SodaStream, and these little bottles are inexpensive and can last quite a while. You can also use the drops in flat water if you want. No one can stop you.
Another option to flavor flat or carbonated waters are bitters. A couple of drops per quart is all I need to get the hint of flavor I need to make my beverage interesting enough to drink. Start with 2 drops and increase until you find your preference.
Those are all the ways I know of to help you immprove water flavor, so you can drink more water. Grab your bottle and meet me in the comments. Will you try any of these methods? If you’ve you already tried some, did they help? And do you have other methods that I didn’t cover here? Sharing is caring. Let’s get and stay hydrated together!