1. Water. Duh. How many little sayings are there around this one? “Water = Life” “Our bodies need water.” “Our bodies are made up of 124.2% water.” Whichever catch phrase floats your boat, the point is that if you’re dehydrated, you’re hurtin’.
(I’ll enter “Gatorade” as a subset of “Water.” Gatorade is my preferred sports drink, but I tend not to use it unless I’m either running more than five miles or hung over. Those two situations seem to merit the extra boost of electrolytes that Gatorade is known for. Otherwise, I’ll stick to water for my hydration purposes.)
2. Tea. Iced or hot, tea’s been around for ages, and damn is it good stuff. Sure, every other day there’s some new study published saying how the antioxidants in green tea can help stave off cancer or mice fed on a diet of pure concentrated tea achieved enlightenment and immortality, etc. That’s not the best reason to drink it, in my opinion.
Allow me to digress here and define “tea.” “Tea” means a beverage made from whole tea leaves or an herbal concoction (tisane) prepared by steeping the proper amount of tea in water of the proper temperature for the proper amount of time. No powdered mixes! (Nothing against the powdered mixes – some of them are pretty tasty – but it’s not really tea.)
Anyhow… The great thing about tea is the endless variety built into it. There are hundreds of teas and lots and lots of different ways to doctor up your own personal cup. You can add sugar, honey, sweeteners, juice… you can brew the tea to be particularly strong or weak. Maybe best of all is that you always know pretty much exactly what you’re drinking. No high fructose corn syrup or weird dyes for you. Just the tea and whatever you put in there.
3. Whiskey. Good Irish Whiskey in particular. Maybe that’s a bit of a shock after “water” and “tea” but I’m a big fan of this particular beverage, with the natural caveat of “to be consumed in moderation.” My personal favorite it Jameson, though, I have to admit that I’ve only had one or two other whiskeys. Anyhow, a nice dose of whiskey – about a quarter cup does for me – sipped until it’s gone, is just great. In the winter in particular, I like to have a bit of whiskey before bed. It’s a nice chance to sit down, have a little drink, and unwind before going to sleep. I’ve also come to a practically superstitious belief that whiskey is a good cure for the common cold. Whenever either have a cold or feel one coming on, nothing quite beats it back like whiskey. (Seems to work with or without chicken soup.) Don’t ask me how that works, I just know it works for me.
So! Those are my top three beverages. There were plenty of others that were considered… milk, juice, wine, beer, sodas, other hard liquors, but I think I’d stick to these as my top three.