Festive Red, White, And Blue Infused Water Recipe

infused water in a pitcher
infused water in a pitcher - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Hosting a holiday party is a big deal, especially when it's the biggest cookout of the year. Not only do you have the dinner menu to worry about, but you also need to have appetizers prepared and a steady stream of libations flowing. A good host has plenty of non-alcoholic options to choose from, too; a great host goes a step further. Infused water is a drink for everybody. Refreshing with just a hint of fruity flavor, it's both a great option for non-drinkers and a cooling refresher between glasses of wine. It's what every cookout needs, and all it takes is a few extra berries.

This red, white, and blue infused water recipe written with developer Michelle McGlinn is the perfect addition to any Fourth of July cookout. Infused with ruby red strawberries, navy blue blueberries, and star-shaped white apples, the water becomes a patriotic centerpiece for the table. It's not just pretty, either –- it's also delicious, and the longer the water sits, the more juicy, sweet, and flavorful it gets. By the end of the night, your guests will have a treat that's equal parts sweet and hydrating.

Read more: 25 Popular Bottled Water Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

All Of The Ingredients Needed For Festive Red, White, And Blue Infused Water

ingredients on a table
ingredients on a table - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

You'll need strawberries, blueberries, and apples to start this recipe. Since all apples are white inside, you can use any popular type of apple, though we'd advise choosing large, sweet apples so that your water doesn't become tart or sour. The best apples for this recipe are Fuji, Gala, and Golden Delicious. From there, all you need is water. We start this recipe with five cups of water for a simple, four-serving pitcher. For a party with 10 or more people, triple the amount of water and plan to infuse the water for a few extra hours before serving.

Step 1: Shape The Apples Into Stars

cutting star shapes out of apples
cutting star shapes out of apples - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Slice the apples vertically into ⅛ inch–thick slices, then use a star-shaped cookie cutter to shape the apples into stars.

Step 2: Add All Of The Fruit To A Pitcher

fruit in pitcher
fruit in pitcher - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Add the strawberries, blueberries, and apple stars to a pitcher.

Step 3: Fill With Water, And Infuse

pitcher filled with fruit and water
pitcher filled with fruit and water - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Fill with water and let the water infuse for 2 to 8 hours before serving.

Festive Red, White, And Blue Infused Water Recipe

infused water in a cup
infused water in a cup - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

How Long Should I Let My Water Infuse?

pouring infused water into cup
pouring infused water into cup - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

When infusing water, consider how fruity and sweet you want your drink to be. For the first 2 hours of infusion, the water will be mostly clear with only a subtle fruity taste. With ice added, it will be even more subtle and will have only a hint of the fruit's flavor. If you infuse for 6 to 8 hours, though, the water will become pink-hued and the fruit will become a little less colorful, but the drink will taste like fruity water. Infuse for an entire day — 12 hours or more — and the water will be nearly red, the fruit will be a little limp, and the drink will be nearly juice.

With this in mind, you can also scale the recipe accordingly without needing to add more fruit. Though you can always add more water later, keep in mind that the infusion is best after a few hours and the water should be added all at once, before serving. If you plan to serve more than just a few glasses, double or triple the amount of water and infuse to taste. More water will require more infusing time; for 16 cups of water — or a gallon — plan to infuse for 6 to 8 hours, or until the water is pink.

Can I Reuse The Fruit After Drinking The Infused Water?

fruit infused in water
fruit infused in water - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

If you've ever infused vodka or tequila, you might have enjoyed a boozy few berries after draining. After all, why let perfectly good fruit go to waste? The truth is, the fruit in this recipe will likely be limp, watery, and flavorless after you drink the water, especially if you enjoyed a long, fruity infusion. Unlike vodka versions, there isn't any booze infused into the berries, so the lifeless berries are lacking incentive to be eaten. Still, though, it doesn't feel right to simply throw them away.

To reuse the berries after your water is gone, you can drain them and blend them into smoothies, adding honey or sugar to increase the sweetness. You can also add them to a parfait with yogurt and granola, again drizzling the dish with honey to replace the lost sweetness. You can also make the fruit into sorbet by freezing and blending it with simple syrup. For the strawberries and blueberries, try simmering them with sugar over medium-low heat until jammy, then enjoy with ice cream for dessert or on muffins for breakfast. If your party went well into the night and the fruit is now totally un-revivable, make the best of the spent berries and throw them into your compost.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.