All you need is lime!
Drinking water is fine, but frankly a bit boring for an epicure. What are the alternatives in a tropical garden? Alcoholic drinks may not always be suitable, and large amounts of sugary drinks should be avoided by anyone afraid of obesity, diabetes and caries. Sugar substitutes usually do not taste the same as the real product, why you suffer a bit from being forced to select an inferior alternative. Personally I like carbonated drinks, and in Sweden we have a range of carbonated waters with artificial fruit flavours. Some ascetic Swedes say it is a shame to bottle and transport water, tap water is good enough. I am afraid that without the flavoured water, many Swedes would drink beer instead. Tap water is only an alternative to someone who suffers from lack of taste, or who takes a pride in abstention and moral crusades.
Drinking flavoured water was OK in a poor country where sunshine does not grow on trees, but in Thailand it does! Take a tall drinking glass (at least 35cl) with a thick and smooth rim to pet your lips. Pour a good water of your choice into the glass. Avoid the tasteless battery water sold to villagers, and anything chlorinated, but select a good mineral water. Now, to reach the epicuric level you pick a fresh lime from a lime tree (Citrus x aurantiifolia, Rutaceae), cut it in two halves, and gently squeeze one half over the water. You should use your fingers or, to avoid dirty fingers and seeds, a teak limey, i.e. a lime squeezer. The limey was designed in 1773 by Captain James Cook’s crew. Do not press too hard or you will press out the bitter oils from the peel.
Simple, pure, maturely acidic, flavourful, refreshing, healthy – now, this is a drink worthy a gardener!
Text & Photo: Eric Danell, Dokmai Garden
Even a poor quality soda turns into a delight with some lime!
Update 2012: with calamondin the drink tastes even better!