With today’s popularity of spa waters, smoothies, and energy shakes, one forgets those Victorian health-seekers of a hundred years ago already knew the value of mixing Manitou mineral water with fruit juices. The resulting delicious drink filled with trace minerals and vitamins was a tonic, rejuvenating tired bodies. The fruit flavors also masked the taste of minerals, which frequently kept people from enjoying this healthy beverage. What they didn’t know then, but we do know now, is that water is so important to overall health and mineral water is especially good for replacing lost electrolytes. The following are some recipes using Manitou Springs mineral water from the many available springs that can reproduce the best drinks expensive spas and resorts have to offer. Plus Manitou water is naturally effervescent!
To make a “spa water”or Agua Fresca, pour 3 parts Manitou mineral water over one part fruit or fruit and herbs in a container that can be sealed, like a mason jar. This will keep the water carbonated. Be sure to wash the ingredients thoroughly first. For the best flavor, carefully mash the fruit and tear the herbs, either with a muddler or a longhandled spoon. You don’t want to pulverize anything, but you do want to release the essence of each ingredient into the water. Refrigerate your water overnight to enjoy the next day. Natural sweeteners can be added but most of these combinations are fine without it. Don’t let the cooler stay too long in the fridge before using, but that’s not usually a problem as its so delicious, you will want to drink it right away. Here are some flavor combinations that have proved especially popular.
MIXED CITRUS - Lemon, Orange, and Lime - Any citrus seems to blend well with Manitou water.
PINEAPPLE MINT - Mint is especially suited to all fruit flavors.
WATERMELON MINT - Shoshone water really makes this combination sparkle.
LEMON GINGER - Cut fresh ginger into very small pieces for the best flavor.
CUCUMBER LEMON MINT - Cucumbers in mineral water create an even more refreshing taste.
For a more substantial flavor, try pureeing the fruit before adding it to the mineral water. You can mix and store the organic ingredients until you are ready to combine them with the water, which creates a lovely fizz due to the natural carbonation. This gives the flavors a chance to intensify and meld. Again, sweeteners, like honey, stevia, or agave nectar can be added according to taste.
HONEYDEW, CUCUMBER AND MINT
Puree the honeydew with a ⅓ cup of the water in a blender or food processor. Pour the juice through a fine sieve into a sealable container to preserve the carbonation.
Add the cucumber, mint, and any sweetener, then refrigerate. You can enjoy your fruit fizz right away if you chill the water first or the fruit mixture can stay in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready.
STRAWBERRY, LIME AND ROSEMARY
Puree the strawberries, 2 cups of the water and the rosemary in a blender or food processor, then let sit for 5 minutes so the rosemary can infuse into the liquid. Strain the mixture into a pitcher with the lime juice, sweetener and remaining water. Serve over ice. This is best drunk right away as the rosemary will become overpowering if allowed to infuse too long.
LEMONY SHOSHONE SPRING WATER WITH FRESH CUCUMBER AND HERBS
Wash and thinly slice cucumber and lemon. Place in empty pitcher.
Fill pitcher with spring water.
Add rosemary, mint, and thyme.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
TWIN SPRING WATER WITH FRESH STRAWBERRIES AND MINT
Wash strawberries and mint.
Reserve a few strawberries (slice) and mint leaves for garnish.
Muddle or puree strawberries and mint. Place in empty pitcher.
Fill pitcher with spring water.
Garnish with sliced strawberries and mint leaves.
7 MINUTE SPRING WATER WITH ICED MELON BALLS
Using melon baller, make balls from all melons.
Place melon balls on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and freeze.
Store in freezer safe containers.
When ready to serve, place mix of frozen melons in pitcher, fill with spring water.
APPLE CINNAMON INFUSED WATER
Add apples and cinnamon to water. Refrigerate immediately to keep apples from browning. Infuse for at least four hours. Let sit out for 30 minutes before serving.
GRAPE INFUSED WATER
Add frozen grapes and a little lemon juice to water and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
GINGER PEAR INFUSED WATER
Add pears and ginger to water. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.
Lemonade made with the naturally effervescent mineral waters of Manitou’s springs has been a local favorite since the 1880’s. The high soda content of the water softens the acidity of the lemons and all the ingredients combine into the perfect drink for a Colorado summer day. Sweetening the lemonade is a matter of personal preference. Traditionally, a simple syrup of boiled sugar and water was used but for something a little less caloric, try agave, honey or stevia. Take a hint from the folks in Manitou Springs and try this with Twin Spring water.
Combine the lemon juice and sweetener of your choice. Pour into a pitcher of Manitou mineral water and add mint, if desired, for an extra zip. The natural carbonation doesn’t last long so put up any leftover lemonade in an air-tight container.
Syrups made from all varieties of fruits and herbs is an excellent way to create a flavoring for mineral water that lasts for around two weeks. The best natural preservative for these is honey, which has nutrients that processed sugar can’t match. Adding citrus juice or zest is another way to extend shelf life and lighten flavors. Most simple syrups are boiled sugar and water, but these are actually infusions, so they are fresher, more brightly colored and healthier for you. There is an excellent blog called theyummylife.com that goes into great detail about how to create these sweet elixirs. Following are a few examples that work well with Manitou mineral water but any of your favorite flavors can be combined to work with this recipe. Let your tastebuds be your guide.
BLACKBERRY LIME MINT SYRUP
Place the fruit, juice and mint into a sealable container then crush with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour the honey over the combined ingredients and mix. Tighten the lid and store in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days. Remove after the allotted time and pour the contents through a fine strainer. I find that using a wooden spoon to mash the blackberries releases extra juice. Store the syrup in another sealable container in the refrigerator. This will stay good for at least 2 weeks, perhaps longer depending on the ingredients. Use syrup anytime you need flavor in your mineral water or use on other foods like ice cream or waffles.
LEMON GINGER SYRUP
Combine all the ingredients into a sealable jar and place in the refrigerator for 2 days. This syrup will keep for quite a long time, at least a couple of months. For a stronger ginger flavor, try adding 2 tsp ginger juice. This is usually available from the Ginger People at local health food stores.
This recipe is the closest to the original ginger champagne made in Manitou Springs from the late 1880’s through the 1940’s. That recipe didn’t have lemon but was full of fresh Jamaican ginger.
When energy levels are sagging, there is nothing better than a cold fruity drink to revive you. Mixing Manitou mineral water with fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants is an excellent way to return you to functionality. This recipe is based on one from an excellent book, “Cool Waters” by Brian Preston-Campbell.
Puree all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth, for about 1 minute.
Strain through a fine sieve and drink immediately or preserve the carbonation with a sealed container.