by Emily Grimes
Updated 12/19/18

Most experts would agree that purified water is the proper foundation for adequate hydration. But let’s be honest: Plain water can be a little boring (unless you’re feeling really parched).

Most people desire flavor and sweetness in a beverage. In America, that translates into a love of soft drinks — which are associated with legitimate health concerns. Take them off the table, and there’s a noticeable void in the beverage department.

So, what do you drink when you’re in the mood for something other than water, especially when you’re in a celebratory mood? Well, you’re in luck! Below are some tasty water alternatives and healing drink recipes to rescue you from a life of bland, tasteless H2O.

1. Festive Holiday “Mocktail”

This recipe is a digestive tonic with the benefits of bitters and the nutrients of cranberry juice. Choose unsweetened juices to keep the sugar content lower. Get creative with the use of different red juices and citrus wedges. Garnish with some fresh cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and a wedge of lime or mint sprig, and your mocktail is holiday-party ready!

2-3 dropperfuls of bitters
2 tbsp unsweetened cranberry juice
½ cup unsweetened soda water
Wedge of lime

1. Add ice cubes to a festive highball glass or other glassware.
2. Pour the bitters and juice into the glass.
3. Add the soda water and garnish with a lime wedge

Change it up:
Try adding an additional 2 tbsp unsweetened grapefruit juice, or swap the cranberry juice for unsweetened tart cherry or pomegranate juice. An orange slice or mint sprig is tasty with any chosen juice combination.

2. Dandelion Bulletproof

If you crave the flavor and boost of a bulletproof coffee but don’t do caffeine or dairy, consider this version made with dandelion tea and ghee your new go-to alternative. It tastes great, plus it offers detoxification and improved mental focus and energy. You’ll need an immersion blender, and this recipe works best if blended in a 1 quart or larger glass jar or glass blender carafe.

2 bags of roasted dandelion tea
2 cups boiling water
1 tbsp grass-fed ghee
½ tbsp coconut or MCT oil
Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Stevia or sweetener of choice (optional)

1. In a large glass jar, pour hot water over 2 tea bags, cover with a plate or lid to seal in heat and flavor, and steep for 10 minutes.
2. Remove and discard tea bags.
3. Add the fats and cinnamon and sweetener, if desired, into the jar, and blend with an immersion blender until frothy, 20-30 seconds.

3. Grown-Up Hot Cocoa

Unsweetened cocoa powder is rich in polyphenols, plant chemicals that support healthy cardiovascular function and have been shown to improve mood. This cocoa recipe includes marshmallow root to add respiratory and GI tract support. Customize your cup with one of the suggested add-ins, then take it to a cozy spot to enjoy some healing calm.

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp stevia or sweetener of choice
2 tsp marshmallow root powder
Dash of sea salt
1 cup boiling water

Optional Add Ins:
½ tsp grated fresh ginger root
Generous ⅛ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 drop peppermint extract, or 20 drops peppermint spirits

1. Put the cocoa powder, sweetener, marshmallow root powder, and sea salt in a mug.
2. Add optional add ins, as desired.
3. Pour in the boiling water while stirring gently to combine and eliminate any clumping.

4. Home-Brewed Ginger Tea

Of all the alternatives, ginger tea claims first place for the most healthful beverage, and it’s one of my favorites. It tastes great and is very refreshing — it leaves a “good burn” going down. Ginger benefits the stomach and intestinal tract by helping to reduce inflammation.

It’s also an excellent choice to reduce nausea, and it possesses antiviral and immune-enhancing properties — facts to consider the next time you come down with a cold or flu. Ginger tea is easy to make and can be tasty hot or cold, so enjoy our home-brewed ginger tea recipe.

1 large piece fresh ginger
1 gallon filtered water
1 large bag green or black tea (optional)
Honey, stevia, or sweetener of choice (optional)

1. Peel ginger using the back of a spoon to scrape off the thin peeling, then slice or chop it into small ½-inch chunks or thin ½-inch slices.
2. Pour water into a large pot over high heat; add ginger pieces.
3. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add tea bag for flavor, if desired.
4. Allow tea to cool slightly, then strain into a large serving vessel; discard ginger pieces.
5. Sweeten to taste with honey or stevia. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

5. Infused Waters

Drinking water infused with herbs, a splash of citrus, or cucumber is an easy way to stay hydrated and cleanse your body — minus unwanted sugar or calories. Plus, it doesn’t require much to add some zest to your water.

When infusing your water with flavor, remember that less is more (this is especially true with cucumber slices). Infused water tastes best when made fresh daily, so just pop a pitcher of the refreshing beverage in the refrigerator, and drink it up each day. This healing, hydration recipe is about as simple as they come:

1. Fill a pitcher with filtered water.
2. Add your choice of flavorings. Some possible ingredients include oranges, lemons, or limes, washed and sliced in ½- ¼ inch discs or half moons; fresh mint, rosemary, or parsley leaves; cucumbers, sliced into ½-inch pieces; and maple syrup or honey.
3. Refrigerate and enjoy.

6. Homemade Kombucha Tea

Kombucha is a uniquely flavored fermented tea with purported health benefits. The live, symbiotic bacteria and yeast provide immune-enhancing properties, and the vinegar supports digestion and buffers acid in the body.

You can buy kombucha in stores, but it’s expensive at about $4 (or more) a bottle. Making it at home is easy, but note that the fermentation process does take a couple of weeks. You’ll need a starter or “scoby” (stands for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast), which you can obtain at some grocery stores, online (Cultures for Health is a great resource), or from a brewing friend. Source your scoby well, and discard it if you notice any funky smells.

15-20 green or black tea bags*
Fresh peeled ginger root (optional)
1 gallon water
1 cup sugar
Large sterilized glass jar with lid
Cheesecloth or paper towel
Rubber band
*Do not substitute herbal tea, as some of the natural oils will kill the scoby.

1. In a large pot, bring water to boil.
2. Add the tea bags and brew as directed on package. (If you are using ginger, add it now.)
3. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
4. Allow to cool, then remove tea bags and ginger.
5. Pour the brewed tea into the clean jar and add the starter.
6. Cover the jar with cheesecloth or paper towel and secure with a rubber band. Do not allow the metal lid to come in contact with the tea.
7. Store the brew in a dark room for 2-4 weeks. The longer you store it, the more sugar will be converted to vinegar and the tangier the result.
8. Taste the tea, and when it reaches your desired tanginess, refrigerate the kombucha to slow the fermentation process. Transfer your new starter to another batch.

7. Green Smoothies

Green smoothies make for a quick and delicious morning delivery of proteins and vegetables, or for a reenergizing midday snack. The “green” refers to leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard. Herbs like cilantro, parsley, and basil can also count to kick the nutrient profile up of a notch.

The benefits of drinking green smoothies are numerous: They’re loaded with easily digestible fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help your body heal and repair itself. Not so fond of greens? No worries! When blended with other ingredients, even the harshest greens critic can usually sip it down with ease. To get the most comprehensive array of nutrients from your smoothie, rotate your greens from time to time.

½ avocado
½ cucumber
A handful of spinach, kale, or other mild leafy green
Protein powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
Sweetener of choice
Non-dairy Milk

Optional Add Ins:
Fruit (bananas, kiwi, mango, pineapple)
Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries)
Coconut meat
Frozen cooked beets (save them in the freezer)
Nuts and nut butters

1. Drop the vegetables and fruit into your food processor.
2. Add the protein powder, chia seeds, oil, and sweetener.
3. Pour in your milk, making sure it’s enough to cover the ingredients.
4. Process until you achieve your desired consistency and enjoy.

Consider swapping out your water intake with one of these tasty drink recipes. They’re convenient to make, and are loaded with healing vitamins and minerals, plus they contain a bevy of anti-inflammatory properties. Healthy, healing beverages don’t have to be flavorless or filled with sugar. Cheers!

Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.
You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.