Saturday, July 2, 2011

Spirit Water

For many years now I have made a big batch of what I call “spirit water” and set it out at my larger summer parties. Although it is nothing more than no-calorie flavored water, this refreshing cool drink is always a hit and people ask me what it has in it, even though the answer to that question is clearly visible in plain sight. Here is the recipe for the complete and best version. For smaller groups and less quantity, adjust accordingly. And even if you don’t have all the ingredients, try making it with whatever ones you have at hand. Note that this drink tastes best after sitting in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the oils/flavors to permeate the water.


3 large sprigs of green basil
3 large sprigs of red basil
3 large sprigs of spearmint leaf
3 large sprigs of peppermint leaf
2 lemons
1 lime
1 orange


Rinse and clean the leaves of the basils and mints so that no brown spots or bugs remain. I grow these basils and mints in my garden and so pick them fresh for this recipe. Slice the citrus fruit thinly (leave the skin on) and remove all seeds. Fill a pitcher with water and place the leaves and citrus into the water. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 3 hours to allow the water to pick up the flavors.

Be sure that you have plenty of ice on hand if you make this for a summer party that goes for a few hours. I freeze a couple of Jello-mold rings ahead of time to float in the water. It is always a challenge to keep the water sufficiently chilled because it goes so quickly that you have to keep refilling with more water that is not ice cold. Adding ice to it frequently keeps it really fresh.

When you are ready to serve the water, pour the water from the pitcher into a large punch bowl (with ladle) and add more water plus lots of ice. Replenish the water as needed. The flavors of the leaves and fruit will continue to permeate the water even as you refresh the punch bowl over time.

Note that this mixture will keep fairly well in the refrigerator for up to about a week. The citrus should be removed after a few days, when it starts to look soggy; but the leaves will last remarkably long. You can keep a pitcher going to enjoy for many days after the party.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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