Like many good ideas, the 'new' way to encourage people to drink tap water is a culinary innovation dating back centuries. At a work training recently, attendees were pleasantly surprised to find pitchers of water with cucumber slices, in lieu of bottled water (complying with the ever-more-common bans on spending local government money on unneeded single-serving beverage containers). Just that small touch somehow made the plain drink seem more refreshing, a treat rather than an austerity measure.
Trader Joe's coffee samples are the first stop for many shoppers at their groceries; and typically there is also a spigoted jug of one of the many juice varieties for sale. Over the summer, our local store also experimented with a range of spa waters, in place of the juice option. They added cucumber, strawberries, citrus slices - more or less any one fruit or combination the staff wanted to try. Most worked beautifully (my favorite being strawberry).
At the Atlantis Resort Hotel in Reno, the spa provides elegant jugs of water with therapeutically-oriented enhancements. The appealing flavors help make sure that guests stay well hydrated while moving between steam rooms, hot tubs, and other amenities. But they also advertise (on menu cards by each pitcher) specific health benefits, including:
Citrus - high in vitamin C, to strengthen the immune system, retain healthy levels of calcium, and lower bad cholestrol
Pineapple and mint - helps recovery of muscles and acts as an anti-inflammatory
Kiwi with cinammon and honey - all three for respiratory healing
Whatever you put in them, spa waters offer an elegant alternative to the plastic bottles of plain or flavored water that American culture has come to think of as necessary for health and convenience. And they can change throughout the year, incorporating the fruits, vegetables and herbs in season locally.