Stimulating the senses
But these are the basics of hydration, and while experts can outline the minimum requirements, the real challenge lies in making the act a more attractive and enticing proposition for people – perhaps even an enjoyable one. “Non-alcoholic alternatives are becoming more popular and are widely available,” continues Ludlam-Raine.
“They can be a great option, not just for those who choose not to drink alcohol or are pregnant, for example, but those who want to look after their health and also reduce their alcohol or added sugar intake,” she adds.
Such alternatives, however, needn’t only be used in a pubs or bars and can quite easily move into healthcare settings to make hydrating less of a chore, more fun and familiar. Indeed, to kick the hydration mission up a step, outlets should take a small leaf from the on-trade’s book by serving drinks with impactful flavours, while also ensuring health and wellness remain at the core.
“Using fruit and herbs that are fresh and in season is a great way to add a nutrient kick to a drink,” she says. “Mocktails are often associated with sugary juice and syrups, so using freshly squeezed juices and natural sweeteners, such as honey and monk fruit sweetener, provides vitamins and minerals to help increase the nutritional profile of the drink.” Nat Battaglia of Mindful Mocktail is an advocate of wholesome, health-imbued alcohol-free drinks and specialises in mocktails. She says the best thing outlets can do to promote hydration is to ensure drinks have a strong visual appeal with bright and vibrant colours, while also explaining the benefits of the ingredients used in each offering.
Hammer home the health message
Perhaps the biggest hurdle in getting people to drink more is that sometimes thirst-quenchers aimed at adults don’t offer sophisticated and interesting flavour combinations. They can often, as Battaglia says, be sweet and full of sugar. However, adding a splash of something like apple cider vinegar provides acidity and balances flavours, while also giving the beverage a new note or tone.
The presentation of wellness-focused, hydrating drinks should, however, differ from the alcohol-free cocktails offered in on-trade outlets to ensure drinkers see their wholesome and beneficial qualities, and so as not to contradict with the health-focused environments they’re served in, she argues.