This post originally appeared in the January 23, 2023 edition of The Move, a place for Eater’s editors and writers to reveal their recommendations and pro dining tips — sometimes thoughtful, sometimes weird, but always someone’s go-to move. Subscribe now.
Whether you’re in the relentless pursuit of being fully hydrated or you’re simply thirsty, everyone has to drink water. And because we all need it to stay alive, people have long been trying to make flavorless, tasteless water a little more interesting by adding a wedge of lemon or those weird flavor enhancer drops that make it taste like Kool-Aid. But the best, easiest addition to a glass of water is a simple sprig of rosemary.
I first encountered the genius of adding rosemary to water over the summer, while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. Hungover and in search of a hearty brunch, I went to Cha, a cute little cafe in the city’s Versalles district. Alongside the plates of chilaquiles and sopes loaded with cochinita pibil came a tall bottle of filtered water with rosemary. I was skeptical at first. While I’ve long enjoyed mint in my water, I think of rosemary as a savory herb, more at home on a roast chicken than in something thirst-quenching. Still, my hangover-induced dehydration insisted that I take a sip, and any doubts were immediately squashed. I can’t explain how — I’m sure there’s some sort of science behind it — but adding a sprig of rosemary to your water just makes it taste colder and more refreshing. It adds the perfect hint of herbaceousness and astringency without being cloying.
Whether you serve it in those pretty flip-top bottles or just a plain ol’ glass, rosemary-infused water is also a simple and elegant way to level up the look of your table when hosting a dinner party or treating yourself to a nice brunch at home. Unlike a wedge of lemon, it won’t leave a bunch of gross-looking floating pulp in your glass or start to look soggy after a few hours. It’s also cheap: One bunch of rosemary, even the fancy organic kind, costs less than $5, and is enough for several bottles of water.
There is truly no easier way to transform your water, either. You just pluck off a sprig of rosemary, as large or small as your vessel can fit, rinse it off, and stick it inside. Pour filtered water over the rosemary, and let it sit for a few minutes before drinking — or a few hours, if you’re prepping for a party — so that the flavor has a little time to infuse. If your bottle (or even your emotional support cup) has a lid, give it a good shake to release more of the herb’s flavorful oils into your drink. It may take a little trial and error to determine how long your rosemary-infused water should steep to suit your preferences. I find an hour or two to be the sweet spot, while anything more than 24 hours makes the water too bitter.
Now more than six months out from that trip, drinking rosemary-infused water is a habit that’s stuck. Since coming home, I’ve kept a little clamshell of rosemary in the fridge for those moments when I’m looking to make my daily water intake a little more interesting — or for when I’m pining for a trip to Puerto Vallarta.