Spa in a Pitcher

MAKES ABOUT 8 CUPS • PREP TIME: 5 minutes • COOK TIME: 1 hour for chilling

If you’ve ever had a Pimm’s cocktail (or Pimm’s Cup as it’s known among the British faithful), you know it often contains a variety of herbs and sliced fruits. I was watching a friend make his version of a Pimm’s cocktail with orange, lemon, cucumber peel, and a secret herb blend when I thought, “Wow, that looks so refreshing; it’s like going to a spa!” Of course the 50 proof Pimm’s had to go (sorry, folks), but I could work around that. What I wanted to create was something that would inspire people to drink, because hydration is so vital to maintaining the body’s equilibrium, especially in hot weather. This tonic is like art floating in a chilled pitcher, with thin rounds of orange, lemon, and cucumber interspersed with sprigs of thyme and mint.

1 orange, thinly sliced into rounds
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
1 unpeeled English cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds
3 sprigs fresh thyme, tarragon, or mint or fennel fronds, or a combination
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
8 cups water or sparkling water

Put the orange, lemon, cucumber, herbs, and lemon juice in a large pitcher. Press the fruit, cucumber, and herbs against the bottom of the pitcher with a wooden spoon, pushing down and twisting slightly to release their juices and volatile oils. Add the water and stir to combine.

Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

VARIATION: In place of the water, use a weak tea made with 8 cups of boiling water and 4 chamomile, ginger, or green tea bags. Let the tea cool to room temperature before adding it to the pitcher.

Reprinted with permission from The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring the Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods Copyright © 2013 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.