I've made some serious progress in the drinks department. We switched to glass bottled milk, loose leaf tea, coffee (working on the filters, but at least composting them), glass bottled juice, and of course, tap water. But alas, there still aren't enough options for us. We need variety. So much so that I actually found an empty VitaminWater bottle in the recycling bin. My husband just needed something different. We're getting tired of iced tea. I've seen those machines that will carbonate your drinks, but I'm not impressed. It's not that I need bubbles I just need something different. I'm thinking of getting some of the frozen juice concentrate in the cardboard cylinders. Is that cheating? Every recipe website I go to has all kinds of drink recipes but they all include soda or packaged juice. So what are all of you drinking?
I drink water, coffee (stove top stainless steel Italian espresso maker) and wine.
Kids drink water, and I sometimes, rarely, make non-dairy milk - my kids can't drink milk.
Sometimes, when it's really hot I like to squeeze a few drops from a fresh lemon in my water.
I get my water from a public reverse osmosis machine in 1 gallon glass jugs. Tap water tastes really bad where I live and contains traces of heavy metals and chemicals.
You could also juice fresh fruits. I'd rather eat the fruit and drink water if I am still thirsty.
How about lemonade? Two quarts of water, the juice from one lemon, a couple of lemon slices, plus additions such as mint leaves, peaches, cucumber, berries, etc. to add variety. Super easy to make. Lemonade mixed with iced tea is delicious, too.
I've also tried making homemade soda syrups and the basic recipe is to start with fruit (berries are ideal) plus lots of sugar and a little bit of water. Let the whole thing simmer until the juices are extracted from the fruit and the sugar is dissolved. Remove seeds and pulp with a fine mesh strainer (or you can skip this step, too). You then add the syrup to either plain or carbonated water. The syrup keeps for at least a week when stored in the fridge. My recent favorite is blackberry syrup, mint leaves, water and ice. Next on my list of things to try is ginger syrup (for making a "fresh" ginger ale).
We mostly drink plain water. My neighbors have a Meyer lemon tree and share the lemons with us. I squeeze fresh lemon into my water in waves. Right now I have been doing it with every glass, but usually just my first glass of the day. Same folks have a bitter orange tree and those taste surprisingly good in water, too. Cucumber slices, as well. Think of "spa water"...
We buy glass-bottle milk every so often and use it for cooking and such. We don't drink a lot of it, but glass-bottle milk does taste delicious enough to drink daily! We also make smoothies with fresh and frozen (once fresh) fruits and veggies. Leftover smoothies become "popsicles". Whenever we go to the mountains, I buy fresh, unpasteurized cherry cider because I absolutely adore it!
When we have company, I buy carbonated juices (Italian soda in glass bottles) or I make tea. I have a variety of teas: green, black, and several herbals. I mix teas to create new flavors. I also add fruit juice to teas sometimes. I grow peppermint and lemon verbena and add those leaves to other teas or make my own tea with them. I was starting to research the tea plant last night to see if it could grow here! ;)
I recently read how to make homemade coconut milk. Ridiculously easy and I found bulk unsweetened organic shredded coconut for $1.99 / pound on a recent road trip. I bought several pounds!
What about herbal teas? You don't have to have them hot, you can have them iced too. Delicious!
My favorite is peppermint, but I also love raspberry and the tangy citrus ones and many more.
I'm growing peppermint at home too, because I didn't want to buy teabags of it any more, so my plan is to dry it and make my own tea with that.
We are water drinkers in our house. I love tea and have switched over to primarily loose tea. We don't drink cow milk, but almond and rice milk. But we go through very little of it. I haven't tried making almond milk, but the raw food recipe seem easy.
Cherry Cider sounds divine? What mountains do you find it?
I read the recipe for homemade coconut milk and need to try it! Just think of how many less cans!
We went to San Francisco for vacation in June. One of our tourist jaunts was trip to Rainbow Grocery. I think we caused more than a few chuckles with our gaping and talking to each other about the glass jars for yogurt and milk. Not available where we live.
i am going through the same problem. i have never drank caffeine. so i am down to water, milk dairy and nut, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
my suggestion is to invest in a seltzer-maker. they are expensive but seem worth it. i found one on craigslist for 1/3 of the price and it has reusable glass bottles. i am making seltzer with tap but also with oj, lemon juice, and ginger syrup for ginger ales. 100% satisfied. not sure about the carbon replacement heads.....
So, we finally gave up on water kefir... actually I gave up, as i was the only person drinking it, and I started getting some funky batches. DH was still firmly attached to sodas. Talked him into trying a Sodastream as a compromise, and it works! I know it may be kinda not ZW as it's a single use item that has to sit out, but it's pretty innocuous and available with minimal plastic. We tried the accompanying branded syrups but have settled into, for me, nothing added (a la bubbly mineral waters), and for DH, adding Torani syrup (glass bottle).
I like that you can exchange the "carbonator", and since we have a nearby Bed, Bath, & Beyond and I have plenty of their discount coupons, it's easy and cheap. One canister lasts us about a month.
I also like that by leaving the carbonated water plain, I can add juice, fruit pieces, etc. by the glass, for a change of pace.
The official claim is about 60 liters per canister, so at $15 a refill, works out to ~ ¢25/liter. Using their syrups adds about ¢42/L .... never figured out for Torani. One could of course, using their measure of 2.5 to 3 TB/L.
I have a bunch of $5/$15 BB&B coupons from "the old days" which helps.
The plastic bottles come in liter and half liter size, glass is in liter only and uses a specific soda maker.
Never cared for plain water (sad, I know), and juices are too strong for the amount I drink; plain and bubbly does the trick.
I am also a big coffee drinker and wanted to find an alternative to paper filters. I've had Coffee Socks for a couple of weeks and have been very happy with them - no off flavors or grinds in my coffee. I prefer them to gold filters.
I like vanilla water or cinnamon water. Just stick a bean (or stick) in water, and let it sit until the flavor diffuses. Add more water when you use some. It lasts a long time, has a subtle flavor, but seems more "fancy" than lemon.
When I have a really big craving for a soda I'll take my ss tumbler into a 7-11 or McDonald's (or any other convenience/fast food store) and fill it up! That usually does the trick, I don't need it every day. Bonus is that I pay the refill price!!
After traveling through Mexico last year I learned about Agua Frescas. They are delicious, refreshing and best of all super easy to make (if you have a blender or immersion hand blender). You can make them with pretty much any fruit and adding herbs (such as mint or rosemary) or freshly squeezed lemon juice can add variety. I have made many different varieties including orange, strawberry, watermelon, blueberry, lime, and hibiscus. You can add honey or sugar for sweetener, but usually I prefer it without any sweetener at all. Here is a recipe to use as a starting off point... http://hapaway.com/2013/07/16/blueberry-agua-fresca/
I just made homemade ginger beer and it's awesome! You can reuse your own bottles like the ones Bea buys for bottling wine or can reuse non-twist off beer bottles and buy (unfortunately non-usable) bottle caps to cap them if you're not aiming for 100% zero waste. I used Alton Brown's recipe on Food Network's website. All ingredients can be bought in bulk. Making it is stupid-easy and the yeast created carbonation naturally. No need for a wasteful SodaStream you'll use twice and then never touch again!