There are two things about water most people can agree on. One, it’s vital for our bodies to function. Two, it tastes really boring.

Try these DIY thirst quenchers that transform tap water into a refreshing, inexpensive drink with the additional health benefits of vitamins, minerals and naturally-occurring sugars. One of the bonuses of adding flavour to your water is that it can motivate you to drink more of it and stay properly hydrated.

Add a dash of flavour

Boost the taste of water by infusing it with fruit, vegetables, herbs and even spices.

Two common additions are sliced lemons and limes, but these ingredients also pack a lot of punch:

  • torn mint leaves (try with blackberries)
  • shredded basil leaves (pair with orange slices)
  • sliced strawberries (adding kiwi boosts sweetness)
  • cucumber slices (also goes well with mint)
  • cinnamon stick (with apple slices)

It's helpful to have a water bottle with a screen or insert that holds fruit and herbs.

To make a large amount, infuse your water ahead of time. Fill a pitcher with water (eight cups or about two litres) each day, and steep the ingredients in the fridge for two to three hours. You can even leave it overnight to give your water more character - or press the fruit with a potato masher for an intense taste. 

On the rocks, please

One of the easiest ways to enhance your water while keeping it cold is to make flavoured ice cubes. Select herbs and fruit with deep aromas and flavours, chop them into small pieces and put them in an ice cube tray topped with water. You can even find trays that are long and narrow; the perfect fit for water bottles with small openings.

Try experimenting with these options:

  • peeled ginger root
  • peaches, lemon juice and honey
  • lemon juice and cucumber
  • blueberries and raspberries

Crank up the taste by making ice cubes with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice, or try these unsweetened juices:

  • grapefruit
  • pomegranate
  • coconut water
  • cranberry
  • pineapple

To save time, make a few trays and put the frozen cubes in separate freezer bags. Sort them by flavour, so you can reach inside and grab what you're in the mood for before your run or workout. 

Just a splash will do

Sometimes you just want a small burst of flavour. Fill your water bottle to nearly full, then pour in whatever unsweetened juice you have in the fridge for a fast and tasty refresher.

DIY water with vitamins

Commercial vitamin water can hide a lot of sugar, so opt for homemade instead.

Here's a simple, refreshing recipe to get you started:

  • 10 cups cold water
  • half a cucumber, sliced thin
  • whole lemon, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup shredded fresh mint leaves

Place all the ingredients in a jug, stir and chill overnight in the fridge. You can also add vitamin drops for a quick and easy way to ramp up your run-of-the-mill H2O.

Health benefits

To optimize the benefits of water, get started as soon as you roll out of bed. Before reaching for a cup of coffee or having breakfast, chug some water. It rehydrates your body and kickstarts your physical and mental functions. 

Squeeze in a little lime and/or lemon juice to help cleanse organs, such as the liver. It also provides electrolytes (which we lose through sweat while exercising), mineral salts, vitamin C, bioactive calcium and antioxidant flavonoids.

One herb that's become more popular for infused water is basil, which is rich in vitamins A, K and C.

The amount of nutrients released into infused water isn't huge, but you need to stay hydrated by sipping water throughout the day, so it may as well taste good and be good for you!