I can’t take credit for this sparkling water bar idea at all. It came to life based on a little story my husband recently shared with my daughter.
He has fond memories of visiting his grandparents as a kid, partially because of their evening ritual. The formal bar in their home had a soda gun that dispensed sparkling water. Having this high-tech gadget in a home was rare, especially in the 70s, but he thought it was the coolest thing ever.
While his grandparents poured cocktails for themselves, he sipped sparkling water and ate various snacks (as many as he wanted, apparently… another treat). It was fun.
Inspired by this story, my daughter has taken to spearhead our own pre-dinner family ritual by making sparkling water mocktails and flavored waters for the three of us. She adds in whatever she can find in the fridge, water, and clever garnishes.
Her drinks have become much more creative over time. Rather than constantly buying cut herbs for her to use, I decided it was time to replenish our herb garden which had suffered some neglect over the summer.
You’re missing out if you haven’t popped herbs into your sparkling water.
Sparkling Water Recipes
She cuts fruit and puts it into little bowls so that she and others can stab it with toothpicks and drop it into drinks. Stems and leaves from our new herb plants are ripped off and dropped in, too.
Any fruit and many herbs will work, but here is list for inspiration:
- watermelon (leave the rind on for garnishes)
- oranges (blood oranges look more dramatic)
- kiwi (I prefer skins off, but she likes them skin-on as garnishes)
Regarding what to mix with your water… the sky is the limit. In addition to the blueberry and grapefruit pictured above, the below are favorites.
Mint and Strawberry
This sparkling water recipe is always a classic. It’s even better with a few muddled berries at the bottom.
Plum and Thyme
This was my favorite combo and it sure is pretty.
Lavender and Cucumber
Lavender can be quite strong so one sprig is enough in my opinion. It tastes like a relaxing spa.
Rosemary and Blood Orange
If you’re going to see the inside of an orange in a drink, make it a blood orange.
This fun little family tradition is easy to replicate on a grander scale when friends and family come over. It’s way more fun (and better for you) than soda.
Sometimes it’s the small things like this that are the essence of life really. I look forward to our little mocktail hour.
Tips for a Sparkling Water Bar
If you let people cut their own herbs, a safe pair of scissors is helpful to have nearby, as rosemary and lavender can have thicker stems.
Berries are very easy to muddle for stronger flavor.
The longer the fruit and herbs sit in the water, the stronger the flavor is. You could also pre-make a few pitchers, to let the flavors infuse.
Flat water works just as well.
Share Your Essence of Life
How do you garnish your sparkling water?