Rosemary-Infused Water Packs A Lot Of Flavor For Almost No Effort

We've all heard that it's important to drink water every day — eight glasses of it, in fact. Truthfully, the amount of water a person needs varies depending on a number of factors, but water is something we all need to drink to ... well, stay alive. Many folks find it difficult to drink plain water all day long because it is the epitome of bland. Sure, it's refreshing on a hot day or after exercise, but it tastes and smells like absolutely nothing. But it doesn't have to be that way.

To add some zest to their water, many people include elements like cucumber, lemon slices, and fresh fruit to give it a flavor boost. While mint is a popular choice for livening up beverages, rosemary may be an even better — if not a little unexpected — option. Often associated with chicken and potatoes, this woody, fragrant herb also works wonders in water, especially if you're a fan of its flavor. Simply place a sprig in your water bottle, pitcher, or carafe to infuse the liquid with an herbaceous, unforgettable flavor. What's more, there's no need for any prep work. Whereas mint needs to be removed from the stem, and lemons need to be chopped or sliced, all you have to do is drop an entire sprig of rosemary into your H2O.

Just drop it in

Rosemary will start infusing its flavor into the water immediately, but if you'd like to accelerate the release of its oils, give the water a shake or stir. The amount of the herb you'll need depends on personal preference. A single sprig should suffice for a glass or an individual water bottle, but if you're filling a pitcher or large dispenser, you might want to add several sprigs. After sitting in the water for an hour or two, the herb's flavor should be noticeable without being overwhelming. Be sure to rinse your sprig or sprigs under running water before dropping them into your drinking water, in order to wash away any clinging dirt.

There are plenty of ways to get creative with rosemary-infused water. You can add all sorts of additional flavorings such as citrus slices, ginger, cucumber, watermelon, or strawberries. Try infusing your sparkling water with rosemary for a tasty, bubbly option. Adding some sprigs of rosemary to lemonade will similarly infuse the beverage with the herb's fragrant aroma. For cocktails or homemade soda, you can make a quick batch of rosemary simple syrup. Just heat equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan, adding a sprig of rosemary. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, strain out the herbs and let the liquid cool before using it.

More than just hydration

Not only could rosemary make you more inclined to drink more water — a beneficial outcome in itself — but the herb has long been associated with various health benefits. According to WebMD, it's a great source of manganese, which aids the body in healing injuries. It also contains antioxidants that combat free radicals, and supports a healthy immune system. Rosemary has been used for centuries to promote memory health, and it is a good source of the phytochemicals niacin, thiamin, and folate.

Rosemary is widely available in most supermarkets, either pre-packaged and ready to use, or as a plant, usually found in the produce department. You can also easily grow the herb from seeds, or pick up a plant from a garden or outdoor store. If planted in the ground, rosemary is very hearty and tends to regrow year after year, especially if you prune it during the winter.

Fresh stalks are ideal for infusing water and other beverages, and they are great for cooking as well. Alternatively, you can dry the rosemary leaves and store them in a spice jar to use for cooking as well.