A couple of years back you would have been forgiven for thinking that extolling the virtues of chugging coconut water and Hulk-coloured juices was just another fad, but the enduring popularity of these health-promoting tipples can’t be denied. ‘Functional drinks’ are here to stay and these new-age energy elixirs are streets ahead of jitter-inducing Red Bull et al.
Here in Ireland, more than ever, our thirst can be quenched by a vast variety of healthier go-to choices which make picking up the iconic silver Diet Coke can seem like a missed opportunity to knock back something of substance. Whether it is a sparkly little pro-biotic number or a green tea-based tonic, sipping on one of the following is bound to instill you with a sense of well-being and maybe a little saintly smugness.
I’m not going to go as far as suggesting you start downing wheat grass shots – this is TheTaste – so incorporating these booster beverages into your routine entails very little suffering as these are beverages with benefits, both delicious and worth stocking up on to put a little spring in your step. Whats more, the majority of these are Irish produced so sipping on them also means supporting new, up and coming producers. I’ll drink to that!
Donegal’s Laura Murphy spotted a gap in the Irish market for a natural, carbonated soft drink having become a fan of Kombucha living in the States. Synerchi Kombucha is functional fizz, with myriad benefits for gut health and beyond as it is brewed from fermented teas, preserving the live culture and accompanying antioxidants and raw enzymes. Synerchi is infinitely tastier than a Sprite, with none of the chemical nastiness and comes in Raspberry and Rosehip, Orange and Lemon, Ginger and Lemongrass and Original Sencha flavours.
Panacea comes in a selection of three flavours – Pink Fizz, Ginger One and the wonderfully named Projito. These naturally sparkling delights are made from water kefir. They are packed with probiotics with none of the dairy from traditional milk kefir and flavoured with only natural fruits and herbs. Founder Kelly Neill came up with the idea for Panacea when she realised there was no nutritious fizzy drink on offer after opting to adopt a healthier diet. Panacea certainly fills this void as it is delicious enough to tempt adults and children alike and promotes optimum gut health – I’m partial to a Ginger One myself.
Mariko is another homegrown delight, brewed in Mayo by founder Christine McAndrew. Mariko is unique in that it is a carbonated green tea based drink with no artificial sweetners, sugar, fat or calories and is made with sencha leaf, known for its energizing properties. Mariko is all natural and incidentally makes a fantastic green tea mojito with a dash of mint and rum…it’s all about balance after all!
I can frequently be found sipping on one of Vit-Hit’s fantastic range of tea-based health drinks, first because they are completely delicious and secondly because they contain 100 percent of your RDA for 8 different vitamins in one bottle. These are seriously powerful for beating an afternoon slump or waking you up after a late night. Whether you choose Lean and Green, Detox, Boost, Immunitea or Revive, each flavour in the Vit-Hit range is a tasty tonic to cure most ills and is 100% Irish.
Like Panacea, Rhythm gets its goodness credentials from the magical component of kefir, in this case combined with healthy heavyweight coconut. These ‘live’ fermented drinks contain lactic acid bacteria, including Lactobacillus Acidophilus and no added sugar. Rhytym’s range is cold pressed, offers all the hydrating benefits of coconut water with naturally occurring electrolytes and comes in three flavours – Coconut, Mango & Passionfruit, Coconut & Pomegranate and Pure Coconut.
Young lifestyle nutrition entrepreneur David Carey has come up with the perfect way to pack some protein into your day without having to resort to gloopy shakes or chalky powders. Nutraplenish Protein Water comes in orange or mixed berry flavour and contains 12g of protein with only 49 calories per bottle. Protein isn’t just for body-builders, it is vital to achieve a feeling of lasting satiety and this way you can quench your thirst and stock up on it at the same time – win win!
Raindrop Vitamin Water is both a refreshing way to pack in some extra goodness into your day and a bit of a science lesson all in one. Did you know that vital vitamins A, B5, B12 and C lose their potency when premixed with water? Dubliner Michael Carney did, so he partnered with Incap to develop a unique, patented cap technology which keeps the vitamins separate from the water until you sip from the bottle – ensuring that the good stuff on the label is really in the drink. Choose from Vitamin B Boost which is Elderflower and Lemon flavoured with 100% RDA of 5 essential B vitamins or orange-scented Vitamin C Revive with 250% RDA of Vitamin C, plus all your daily zinc requirement.
If you are prone to stressing out over little things consider swapping your coffee for a soothing bottle of Noa. With green tea extract and lemon balm, Noa reproduces the relaxed yet alert state associated with yoga and meditation. Each bottle contains the equivalent of 15 cups of green tea and can aid focus and reduce anxiety. Scandinavian-inspired flavours include Elderflower and Rhubarb, Blueberry and Birch Sap and Wild Apple and Gooseberry – all delicious enough to have you skipping out on caffeine for a change.
Take a round the world trip in a glass with Yum Cha’s range of natural iced-tea syrups, from Asian-style Sour Plum to Moroccan Mint. Just add a dash of syrup and top up with water (try sparkling for a great fizzy drink replacement) and enjoy iced tea with far less sugar than bottled versions. These syrups are super versatile too, should you want an iced tea at lunch but a cocktail at dinner!
So what are you waiting for? With all the listed bottled benefits there’s no excuse not to say bottoms up to these saintly summer drinks. Cheers!
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that (and greed) as the ultimate motivators, I quickly realised that home-baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law I undertook a PhD, but a preference for cookbooks to textbooks persisted. As a (self-confessed!) demon in the kitchen, I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, which fuelled my desire to set my focus on food in a serious way. Working with The Taste allows me to satiate this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me as I share my food adventures and hopefully inspire others to indulge their passion for cooking and food in the process!