Maven Moment: Refreshing Drinks for Mom

close-up of tall glasses of pink beverage with ice and fruit

When I was a little girl, we didn’t worry about staying hydrated. We didn’t know the science of hydration. If you were thirsty, you drank a cool beverage. My mother kept a pitcher of tap water in the fridge and sometimes we had soda and, occasionally, lemonade. We never thought about how much water we drank. But we know better now. Drinking enough water has many health benefits.

When Mom got older, she was diagnosed with kidney stones and directed to drink lots of water. This was hard for her to do because, in her words, “It’s so hard to choke it down when you aren’t thirsty.” She tried flavored water mixes that tasted like lemon-lime or strawberry-kiwi, but she found them too sweet.

Instead, she came up with a drink of her own that she called cranberry water. She put a little cranberry juice in a reusable plastic bottle, then filled it up with water. She put the full bottle in the freezer for about 30 minutes. The result was a pretty pink slushy drink that was both tempting and hydrating. And the cranberry was recommended by her doctor to prevent UTIs.

I still drink cranberry water. I like a big glass of it in the morning. Sometimes, I add a little lemon and a bit of sugar to make sort of a cranberry-lemonade. It helps me stay hydrated all year round. I am sure that other types of juice would be good, too, like grape or pomegranate.

The combination of fruit (especially peaches) with wine made sangria a favorite treat of Mom’s. She and I both loved my brother’s red sangria, which included red wine, brandy, triple sec, and seasonal fruit, such as oranges, peaches, or apples, depending on the time of year. Topped off with a little seltzer, it made a lovely compliment to a meal.

Mom and I liked to make a very simple sangria. We would soak fruit — such as peaches, oranges, and pears — in red wine for about an hour and top it off with ice and a little seltzer just before serving. Sometimes we might add some peach or pear nectar (about 1/4 cup for 1 liter of sangria) to enhance the fruit flavor of the drink.

While Mom never liked the full-strength wine that my brother and I enjoyed, she did enjoy wine mixed with ginger ale — about 1/3 wine to 2/3 ginger ale. I like to call that drink “The Lucia” after my mom. Served ice cold, it was the perfect accompaniment to a spicy summer barbecue or heavy winter meal.

I think fruit juice and water combinations, like Mom’s cranberry water, can make it easier for someone who finds it hard to drink enough water. And for those special occasions, mixing local wines with seasonal fruits can make a refreshing sangria-type drink. Give it a try!

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Joanna Lacey
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