favor- “ette” friday: 2 ways to use a pretty bottle

“Bottled or tap?”

Is it me, or does this seem to be the first question you’re asked at a restaurant these days? I mean, really – take my drink order first, please!

I appreciate the offer – I don’t care for sparkling water, so tap is just fine.  And truthfully, I don’t give much thought to the pitcher of water that’s used to pour it. But recently I was out to dinner and immediately noticed 2 vessels that were on the table – 1 filled with lemon and lime slices and 1 with ice cubes. I thought, what a simple touch, yet one that made such a difference.  I don’t know that I had ever seen this before and was quite impressed.

I thought about the options I offer up at home when I entertain –  either water poured from my Brita (not very pretty) or a bottle of Italian mineral water (pretty,  but always left over, only to go flat on my kitchen table).  I decided to re-think this after my dinner experience and, lo and behold, found my answer at Ikea.

We were there doing some college shopping for Chelsea when I found these bottles:

ikea bottles

They were perfect – and at $4.00 each, a real bargain too. I bought several and made a few different versions of flavored waters. It couldn’t be easier – just fill a pitcher with water and add your ingredients. I used a sliced cucumber, a bunch of fresh mint, and 2 sliced lemons. You could also combine 2 or more ingredients, or substitute with your favorite herb or fruit. Refrigerate overnight to develop the flavors and transfer to your serving bottle:

lemon cucumber mint
flavored waters lemon cucumber mint

It’s nice to put out a few different bottles for your guests to try (and even better if you have a son who’s willing to illustrate the tags for you…….):

tags for infused waters
ikea bottle with cucumber water

Shortly after my dining experience I was delighted to discover yet another use for these bottles.  I was at a street fair and stopped at a coffee stand for an iced coffee. While waiting, I noticed that the only choice of sweetener offered was simple syrup – served in the same style of bottle I had just purchased.

If you’ve never used simple syrup before – well, it couldn’t be simpler! You dissolve sugar in an equal amount of water over medium heat, bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Let cool completely and store, covered, for up to 2 weeks. It’s great in iced coffee and iced tea (no sugar granules at the bottom of your glass!), as well as in lemonade and mixed drinks like margaritas and mojitos. I also use it for brushing on cakes to make them extra moist. You can make as small or large a quantity as you need – I usually use a ratio of 1 cup water : 1 cup sugar.

ikea bottles with cucumber water and simple syrup

Any other suggestions for these pretty little bottles? Please share!

Happy Friday!

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