The New Year often brings new resolutions, and getting fit and healthy is probably the most common resolution of all time. We’re all turning another year older after all, and our bodies are feeling it. Working out more often aside, getting healthy is also about eating and drinking right. Living in Malaysia with a barrage of good, cheap food available 24-7, we have to admit eating healthy is not always the easiest thing to do. Plus, we love our teh tariks, sirap limau and kopi-o-ais, how can we possibly we replace them with anything else? Well, say hello to our six recipes for refreshing and healthy drinks to help guide your way.
Our list of healthy drinks include sodas, infused water, a unique juice and a warm tonic to keep you refreshed all through the year. And the best part is, they’re refined sugar free and contain no artificial additives or colours. In fact, some of them are so startlingly beautiful they’d make perfect mocktails for parties. And if you need a little sweetness, a little pure honey will do the trick.
Let’s get our healthy drinks on!
Pandan & lemon soda
Did you know that pandan – a common ingredient in our local delicacies – has great health benefits? It can help lower high blood pressure, reduce stress and is a great detoxing agent. The combination of pandan and soda may sound odd for the uninitiated – but this healthy drink is surprisingly good and incredibly delicious.
- Mix pandan and lemon juice together in a glass. Stir.
- Fill glass with ice halfway.
- Add soda water.
- For extra points, serve with a slice of lemon and a sliver of pandan leaf, especially for parties.
- Add 1 to 2 tsp honey for a little bit of sweetness if necessary.
- Fresh pandan and lemon juice can keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, so don’t worry if you have extra.
Purple lemonade with basil seeds
Its pretty pink colour makes this a beautiful drink to serve at parties. Plus, preparing this drink can be quite a conversation starter, especially if you’re making it in front of your guests – a little bit of magic will take place before their very eyes! Besides being used as natural colouring, blue butterfly pea flowers are full of antioxidants, making this a tasty and healthy drink indeed.
- Add basil seeds to warm water and let it fully expand. It only takes a few seconds for each seed to expand, but it will only do so when it touches the water. So, if you have a heap of basil seeds to expand, this may take some time. You’ll know it’s done when the seeds have sunk to the bottom of your bowl or glass.
- Once basil seeds are ready, add blue butterfly pea water to a glass.
- Next, add cold water. Stir to mix.
- Get your camera or phone out (because you’ll want to record this bit). Add lemon juice to the mixture and watch the colour change from purple to a lovely pink! Stir to mix thoroughly.
- Add 2 tbsp of fully popped basil seeds. More is fine.
- Add honey for a little sweetness.
- Make the basil seeds in advance as they take some time to fully pop, but it’s ok if some of them remain unpopped.
- Feel free to add more or no honey. Blue butterfly pea water doesn’t have a lot of flavour in itself.
Pandan & lemongrass tonic
This warm, soothing and healthy drink will make you feel good inside. It’s especially great if you’re down with a cold as lemongrass is a great antioxidant, while pandan is good for reducing fevers. And even if you’re feeling fine, this drink still tastes delicious and contains everything good for you!
- 12g lemongrass (about 1 stalk, white part only)
- 3g pandan leaf (about 1 leaf)
- 350ml water
- 14g (2 tsp) honey
Makes 1 drink
- Bash lemongrass slightly.
- Add lemongrass, pandan leaf and water to a small pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove pandan and lemongrass and serve hot or warm with honey to sweeten.
- Honey really makes this drink plus it’s a great addition if you’re battling a cold or flu. But if you’re diabetic or allergic, feel free to leave it out. The lemongrass and pandan taste on its own is quite mild, but still soothing.
- This is a great drink to make a whole batch of at one go as it can be refrigerated once it has cooled. However, we recommend warming it up and adding honey only when you’re ready to serve.
- If you’re serving this to guests, pop the stalk of boiled lemongrass in for optional decoration.
Pineapple lemon & mint soda
This healthy drink is great for parties! The cuts of pineapple add a lovely tropical vibe and gives your guests something to chew on too. Refreshing and perfect for a hot day.
- 230g pineapple, cut into 2cm cubes
- 5g mint leaves
- 20g (1 ½ tbsp) lemon juice
- 320ml soda water (1 can)
Makes 2 drinks
- Take half the pineapple and combine with mint leaves and lemon juice in a jug.
- Use a wooden spoon or masher to muddle the pineapple and mint until it is all squishy and broken up. Alternatively, use handheld mixer to blend it just a little.
- Add the rest of the pineapple.
- Pour in soda water and as much ice as you’d like. Stir to mix thoroughly.
- If your pineapple is sweet, you don’t need to add a sweetener. But if it’s not sweet enough, add 2 to 3 tsp honey depending on how much is needed.
Pandan lime cilantro mint soda
The lovely emerald green tone and refreshing taste of this delicious soda is sure to wow your taste buds and your guests! It’s a great party mocktail and you won’t even have to tell them it’s a healthy drink.
- Use a wooden spoon or small pestle to muddle the cilantro and mint together in a glass. You just need the leaves to break and the aroma released. There’s no need to smash it until fine.
- Add pandan juice followed by lime juice. Stir to mix.
- Fill the glass half full with ice and then top with soda water.
- We feel there’s no need to add honey to this drink, but it’s your call!
- Party idea – rim the glass with a mixture of raw sugar and a touch of sea salt for décor points!
Apple & thyme juice
This unusual mixture makes for a refreshingly tasty and healthy drink that’s great for cooling you down on a really hot day. The addition of cardamom might sound a tad bit weird, but the flavours come together very well. Just don’t accidentally chew on it!
- 100ml fresh green apple juice (about 1 ½ apples)
- 100ml cucumber juice (about 1 cucumber)
- 4 sprigs thyme (about 1 tbsp)
- 12g lemongrass (1 stalk), white part only
- 2 cardamoms
- 12g (1 tbsp) lemon juice
- 100ml soda water
Makes 1 drink
- Lightly bash thyme, lemongrass stalk and cardamom and add to a glass.
- Juice apple and cucumber (separately, for more accurate measurements). You can either use a slow-pressed or regular juicer.
- Add both juices to glass, followed by lemon juice and soda water. Stir to mix.
- Top with ice.
- Make a batch and store for 2 or 3 days!
- Due to the apple juice’s tendency to discolour, this is not the best party drink. But you can cheat a little and serve this in coloured glasses!
Cucumber, lemon & herb infused soda
Infused water is great for parties and gatherings as cut up colourful fruits floating in a jug makes for pretty pictures! The fruits flavour your water and gives you a touch of sweetness without the added calories and sugars of regular fruit juices. We infused our fruits with soda water for a refreshing fizziness.
- 150g cucumber (1 cucumber)
- 75g lemon (1/2 lemon)
- 6g mint leaves
- 6g rosemary (1 large sprig)
- 960ml soda water (3 cans)
Makes 3-5 servings
- Cut cucumber and lemons into slices about 3-5mm thick.
- Using a pestle, lightly bash mint and rosemary leaves.
- Add cucumber, lemons, mint and rosemary to a jug.
- Pour in soda water.
- Top with ice.
- You can also swap out soda water with regular water, especially if you’re planning to carry this drink around in a bottle and keep the rest refrigerated.
- Feel free to experiment with different fruit and herb combinations!
Use this recipe to get your pandan juice for our healthy drinks above. It’s easy to make and can even be kept to make natural pandan extract for your food and desserts!
- 60g pandan leaves (about 10 leaves)
- 150g water
Makes about 125g of pandan juice
- Use a pair of scissors and cut pandan leaves about 1cm wide. We recommend cutting them straight into the blender.
- Add water.
- Blend until the pandan leaves have shredded as fine as possible.
- Pour leaves and pandan juices into a fine sieve.
- Use the back of a spoon to extract out all juices.
- Your pandan juice is ready!
- Don’t drink this pandan juice straight up – it does not taste great. Use one of the recipes above to create a delicious pandan drink instead!
- You can use the exact same steps above to make pandan extract. Just let the juice sit in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days until the liquids have completely separated. You’ll get a light green liquid which you can still use to make a pandan-based drink, and a dark green sludge at the bottom which is the pandan extract. No need to buy that artificial stuff anymore!
- The less water you use, the more concentrated the colour and flavour of your pandan juice.
Blue butterfly pea water
You can use this simple technique to extract the stunning colour of the blue butterfly pea flower, whether to use as a drink or as colouring for your food or craft projects!
- 5g blue butterfly pea flowers (15 flowers)
- ½ cup hot water
- Soak flowers in hot water. Basically you want the hot water to just cover the flowers.
- Let it soak for 30 minutes at least prior to using.
- You can also use dried blue butterfly pea flowers if you don’t have access to fresh ones.
- The longer you soak your flowers, the stronger and deeper the colour will be. You can store this coloured water in the fridge for several days.
- The less water you use, the more concentrated the colour of your blue butterfly pea water.
Will you say no to sugary carbonated drinks and say yes to these healthy drinks from now on? We know banning them completely is hard, so swap them out with these recipes when you’re at home or entertaining guests. Share with us how your drinks turned out by tagging your pictures with #butterkicap!