Cheap Dates, Clever Cooks, Footnote Frivolity***

Drinks on the house

While there’s nothing better for you and your budget than a glass of tap water*, your guests might not take too kindly to l’eau du robinet, even when it’s served in fancy glassware. Fortunately, there are ways to pimp up tap water without needing to pimp yourself out.

  1. In spite of the above comment, tap water seems more palatable when nicely presented. Restaurants get away with providing tap water in pretty pitchers/jugs/bottles all the time, so why can’t you? Said pitcher/jug/bottle doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either; opportunity shops, which are graveyards for all sorts of unwanted wedding china, will usually have affordable glassware on display.
  2. If you have some herbs, fruit, or vegetables growing in your garden, add a sprig or slice to your water to give it a bit of zing. While serving jet-setting friends, let them know that infusing water with such is a Spanish tradition called aguas frescas (thanks Love to Know Gourmet), but they should already know that.
  3. Cottee’s cordial is a must-have pantry item. At just over 10c per serve, Cottee’s will help you and your guests reminisce over the good old days when children played outside and George Lucas still made good films. Frugal gourmands can opt for more upmarket versions such as Murray Breweries (46c per serve) or make their own.
  4. And for that special someone**, homemade iced tea is a thrifty but thoughtful alternative to Chandon, especially when it has strawberries in it. My personal fave is orange, mint, and cinnamon-infused iced tea. I came across the combination while on holidays in Bright and have reconstructed it at home:

Orange, Mint, and Cinnamon-infused Iced Tea

Serves 1

Juice of 1 orange
1 teabag***
up to 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons sugar
mint leaves
water to make up 250mL

  • Steep teabag in a small amount of boiling water for a minute or two. Remove teabag.
  • Add cinnamon, and sugar, stir until sugar crystals have dissolved.
  • Add orange juice and top up with water to make 250mL.
  • Refrigerate. Once cold, pour tea into serving glass, except for the orange pulp/cinnamon slurry at the bottom.
  • Add mint leaves and serve.

So far, $118.39 saved via the new offset account****,


*Melbourne tap water, that is, and not New Delhi tap water. New Delhi tap water will make you sick.

**It is Valentine’s Day eve after all.

***I used English Breakfast but any black tea will do.

****While the new bank doesn’t let me know how long I’ve got to go on my mortgage, it does tell me how much interest I’m saving by using an offset account.

3 thoughts on “Drinks on the house

    1. Funnily enough, I’ve never had that. Though I do remember mum mixing lemon + sugar + water + ice to make nước chanh đá, another thrifty alternative, especially if you have a lemon tree in your back yard.

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