It’s important to keep hydrated to avoid lethargy and keep the body functioning efficiently during the summer months.
Water is always the best to quench a thirst, and when we choose a drink we really have to be sure it will not dehydrate us, as many sugary drinks can.
We also have to count anything but water as calorific, though a wedge of lemon squeezed into a jug of water and left to allow the rind to add more flavour, goes a long, calorie-free way.
Now is the time to make simple elderflower cordial. A dessertspoon in a glass of still or fizzy water is superb and you can be sure there are no chemical additives.
There are plenty of recipes online and in Darina Allen’s books.It can easily be made into iced lollies, as can simple water flavoured with a squeeze of an orange, a few strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. Our samples today could all be used in this way.
When shopping, we looked for a refreshing drink, still or sparkling, with the least chemical additives, and as low sugar as possible.
We were glad to find so many glass bottles. They are particularly preferable to plastic at this time of year as the leaching of chemicals accelerates during the heat.
Sanpellegrino Pompelmo €4.29
16% grapefruit gives this sparkling water a terrific freshness and was the only drink that all tasters agreed was refreshing, with a lovely, clean flavour. This six pack of 330ml cans was the winner for everyone. 10.3% sugars come from sugar and not substitutes, and perhaps is why the sweetness is not overpowering. There is grapefruit extract too, along with citric acid, and no chemicals. Produced in Italy.
Lorina Sicilian lemonade €3.19
This 750 glass bottle with its resealable flip top works well for storing our own fruit cordials. Made in France with Italian lemons, there are 11.2% sugars coming from sugar, not substitutes, so it remains quite lemony and refreshing. Potassium disulphite is the antioxidant, sodium benzoate the preservative, both of which can cause a reaction in those sensitive to them.
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Sicilian Lemon & Irish Elderflower lemonade €3.90
In a screw top glass bottle, this tied with Lorina. Those who preferred it found it refreshingly lemony, but without much elderflower. Those against it found it a little sweet with 12% sugars; the sugar is real and not a substitute. Zero additives sent it up a notch.
Bottle Green sparkling ginger & lemongrass €2.99
This 750ml dark green glass bottle has a screwcap, and like all the glass bottles can be recycled. Tasters found the ginger slightly overpowered the lemongrass, but were happy that there were no additives and a mere 7% sugars derived from regular sugars.
Tesco Finest Orange & Ginger Pressé €1.99
7.6% sugars come from regular sugar, and it’s not too sweet or cloying. The ginger is underplayed here with some orange coming through nicely. A pleasant drink, in a 750ml glass bottle, it was fifth in tasters’ preferences.
Old Jamaica ginger beer €1.59
This 500ml plastic bottle was not favoured by tasters who prefer glass, but they liked the ginger flavour of the contents, despite finding it oversweet. At 15.2% sugars this was not surprising. It was acceptable to all, but not a favourite due to the sweetness.
OKF Aloe vera King €1.69
In a 500ml plastic bottle, as aloe vera has been touted as a health food, tasters expected to feel healthy immediately, or at least refreshed. Manufactured in Korea, this still drink came too far for environment conscious tasters. 8% sugars come from fructose and grape juice which results in quite an unexpected oversweet flavour. Various awards on the label did not convince tasters.
White Grape & Elderflower sparkling water €1.09
This litre bottle of spring water has concentrated apple juice with flavourings of white grape and elderflower. There are citric and malic acids with the acidity regulator E331— a sodium citrate. The preservatives E202 — potassium sorbate and E211 — sodium benzoate — are anti fungal agents. The artificial sweetener sucralose resulted in a taste which was far too sweet and not refreshing.
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