8 Refreshing Ways To Stay Hydrated That Are More Fun Than Plain Old Water

by BUST Magazine

Most everybody enjoys a bit of sweetness in their beverages, but who wants to guzzle saccharine-filled, artificial drinks all day? Instead, try making your own fruit syrups; then keep them on hand to add a quick hit of flavor and a hint of sweetness to a glass of seltzer or a cocktail. These all-natural syrups contain nothing but honey, fruit, herbs, and spices, and they’re the perfect way to use the in-season fruit you got from your latest CSA share. Aside from drinks, you can stir them into smoothies and yogurt, or drizzle them on shaved ice or ice cream. 

Lots of syrup recipes involve heating and simmering the ingredients to extract the flavors. The trouble is, heat destroys the nutrients; a no-cook method is healthier and easier. You have to wait 24 hours before you can use them, but that inconvenience is well worth it. Because these fresh syrups aren’t cooked, their fridge shelf-life is shorter; but they’ll still last at least a month or so (the ginger-lemon flavor will last two to three months, because of the citrus and honey). And if you want to extend their life, they definitely freeze well.

Here are eight fantastic fruit and herb combos to try (each recipe makes approximately 1 1/2 cups of syrup):

Apple Maple Cinnamon: 
2 cups finely chopped apple, juice from 1 lemon, 3 cinnamon sticks (broken or pounded into small pieces), 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3/4 cup honey

Raspberry Orange: 
2 cups raspberries, zest and juice from 1 orange, 1 cup honey

Blueberry Sage: 
2 cups blueberries, juice from 1 lemon, 8–10 torn/chopped sage leaves, 1 cup honey (You can substitute blackberries for blueberries)

Strawberry Basil: 
2 cups chopped strawberries, zest and juice from 1 lime, 6 torn or chopped basil leaves, 1 cup honey

Pineapple Mint:
2 cups chopped pineapple, juice from 1 lemon, 16 torn or chopped mint leaves, 1 cup honey

Ginger Lemon: 
2 cups (1/2 pound) finely chopped ginger, juice and zest from 4 lemons, 1 cup honey

Peach Almond: 
2 cups chopped peaches (or mangoes or nectarines), juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1 cup honey

Cherry Vanilla: 
2 cups chopped cherries, juice from 1 lemon, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 cup honey

You’ll need:

  • Ingredients for flavor of your choice (see above)
  • 1 quart mason jars with lid (or similar container)
  • 1 to 2 cup jars or bottles
  • Muddler or wooden spoon
  • Fine wire-mesh strainer


1. Assemble and prep the ingredients. Fresh and in-season fruit is best, but you can also get great flavor and nutrition from frozen. Either way, except for small berries, the fruit needs to be coarsely chopped so that its flavors and juices saturate the honey. Citrus should be zested before it’s juiced. Chop fresh ginger root finely, but don’t peel if you’re using organic. Fresh herbs should be torn or roughly chopped. For the spices, choose whole versions (ground is difficult to strain); put them in a plastic bag, and crush them with a meat pounder or heavy skillet. Your honey can be any 100-percent pure, unfiltered variety.

2. Combine ingredients in a one-quart mason jar, then add fruit and herbs. Muddle (mash) them with an up and down, twisting motion, using a muddler, or the end of a wooden spoon. Stir in the other flavor ingredients—spices, extracts, zest, juice, etc—along with the honey. (Note: the zest is optional if you’re using citrus juice; add zest if you want a stronger flavor.) Cover and refrigerate for 24–48 hours, stirring or shaking jar once, approximately halfway through.

3. Place a fine-mesh wire strainer over a bowl, and pour the mixture through to strain; stir and mash the fruit until all the syrup goes into the bowl.

4. Store them in the fridge, in small mason jars, or other glass jars. Then label ’em—you can find templates at bust.com/downloads.

By Monica Matheny, theyummylife.com
Photographed by Vanessa Rees

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2014 print edition of BUST Magazine. 
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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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