Recently, I have observed multiple businesses utilizing a simple – yet impactful – hospitality technique:
Setting up a pitcher of infused water in the entrance of the building to welcome guests with a free, refreshing beverage!
At first glance, it’s nothing extravagant…
But this modest drink is a special representation of someone caring for your comfort, of someone taking the time to make a drink that will simultaneously quench your thirst and offer a sense of thoughtful generosity.
Don’t you get so excited when you are greeted with an unexpected gift of food or drink?
Don’t you immediately perk up with pure glee when a coworker hands you a jar of homemade strawberry jam?
Or when a friend drops off a huge casserole at your front door when you are quarantined with Covid?
Or when your server at a restaurant offers you a free dessert or drink, because you’re celebrating a special occasion?
What a heartwarming realization, knowing that someone somewhere is thinking about you – and that they dedicated extra time out of a busy schedule or busy service to transform their compassion and consideration into something you can actually taste!
Spread the love and keep the hospitable energy flowing by providing your own homemade infused water when you know you have guests arriving.
This citrus and cucumber version is a classic – with just a few ingredients and some easy prep, you can transport your guests from humble home to soothing spa.
Sliced orange, lemon, and lime offers an invigorating blend of bright flavors, effortlessly balanced by the slightly vegetal, grassy notes provided by the cucumber.
Poured into glasses filled with ice and served with a smile – and maybe a cute garnish – your friends and family will definitely feel how loved and appreciated they are by you!Print
Transform your home into a spa-like oasis with our infused water. Feel at ease with the flavors and aromas of cucumber, orange, lemon, and lime.
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 lime, thinly sliced
- 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
- Discard the end pieces of the citrus and cucumber. Discard any seeds from the citrus.
- Place all of the slices in the bottom of a large pitcher. Pour the water on top.
- Cover the top of the pitcher tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-8 hours.
- Pour the water into individual glasses filled with ice and serve immediately. You may strain out the citrus and cucumber before serving if desired.
- For longer storage, strain out the slices after the initial infusion. The infused water will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Infused Water
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: Beverage
Keywords: infused water, lemon, lime, orange, citrus, cucumber
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Set out a pitcher, one that is large enough to hold two quarts of liquid. Set out the lid for the pitcher, or a roll of plastic wrap if the pitcher does not have a lid.
Before slicing, thoroughly wash all of the produce, shaking off any excess water.
You should avoid using the end pieces, as they will release too much bitterness into the drink. Remove any seeds from each slice of citrus.
Measure out your water. Use your favorite filtered water at home, obtained from a separate filter pitcher, faucet, or refrigerator dispenser. You can also choose your preferred brand of bottled water.
Step 2 – Add All Ingredients to Pitcher
Gently place all of the slices in the bottom of the pitcher – there’s no particular order of placement required here.
Pour the water into the pitcher over the slices.
Step 3 – Infuse and Chill
Cover the pitcher with the lid, or tightly wrap the top with plastic wrap. Transfer the pitcher to your refrigerator.
Infuse for a minimum of 2 hours, or for up to 8 hours. The longer the mixture remains in the refrigerator, the stronger the flavors will be.
If you prefer more subtle flavors provided by the fresh produce, infuse for less time. If you prefer more pronounced flavors, infuse up to the 8 total hours.
However, you should not infuse the water for any longer than this time, as these ingredients will start to impart an unpleasantly bitter and acidic taste.
Here’s another important tip: make sure you infuse your beverage in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
According to food safety experts at the CDC and the FDA freshly cut fruits and vegetables are considered highly perishable produce. They need to be refrigerated within 2 hours of being prepped at room temperature to prevent foodborne illnesses due to improper storage.
Step 4 – Serve and Store
For the most refreshing serving suggestion, fill individual drinking glasses with plenty of ice before pouring the infused water into them.
You can choose to strain out everything before serving, or you can evenly distribute some of the pieces among the glasses for a pop of bright colors.
Drink your beverage immediately, while it’s cold. Again, perishable sliced fruits should not sit at room temperature for any longer than 2 hours.
To store any extra infused water, remove all of the pieces of fruits and veggies after the initial infusion in Step 3 before pouring the flavored water into an airtight container.
The beverage is already flavored to your preferred strength – you don’t want to continue infusing, or else the fresh produce will continue breaking down and the liquid will become too bitter.
Garnish for a Final Touch
When we’re in a hurry and trying to save some time, we tend to live in the fast, no-frills lane of a “pour-and-go” approach when getting ourselves something to drink.
But there’s still an opportunity to serve others a beautifully adorned beverage!
And this particular variety of produce in this recipe offers us bountiful garnishing ideas for an impressive presentation.
For a playful idea, slice a cucumber or lime coin halfway through with a small paring knife, and slide it down on the rim of each glass.
You can also cut, fold, and twist lemon or orange rinds in different ways to create an artful garnish, similar to what you may find on a carefully crafted cocktail.
Utilizing the rind not only provides a pretty garnish, but it’s also a practical method to use up all parts of the produce you bought without anything going to waste.
How will you serve your drink: plain, or with a colorful garnish? How do you like to creatively repurpose potential food scraps? We’re all ears, so chat with us in the comment section below.
The crisp texture and refreshing flavor of cucumber are unbeatable! Use this gorgeously green ingredient in even more homemade recipes to enjoy a repeat experience:
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.