Top Pick Of The Week

February 21, 2006

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Flavored Water
You can think about flavoring water with citrus, cucumber, pear or herbs: slices and herbs look beautiful in a water pitcher and a glass. But for most of us, grabbing a bottle of already-infused Hint water is a sure thing. Photo copyright Kelly Cline.

Give Me A Hint:
Hint Essence Water

The American consumer has access to perhaps 200 to 250* different bottled waters: domestic and imported, still and sparkling, plain and flavored. Do we really need another one? Yes, if it’s as well-conceived and deliciously different as Hint, a new line started by a former corporate executive who saw a gap in the marketplace and created the right product to fill it.

*According to consultant Michael Mascha, who is Water Editor of THE NIBBLE and founder of, this is the number available nationally, although regionally the amount will be smaller and any individual store will carry only a handful (most brands can be purchased online). The total number of water brands in the world is approximately 3,000. Click here to read the FineWaters survey on bottled waters.

Hint is a line of simply splendid, calorie-free, sugar-free waters subtly flavored with natural fruit, vegetable and herb extracts. The waters are nothing like the sweetened Glaceau Fruitwaters or any of the other flavored waters we've tasted. Think of Hint as the bottled version of what might be poured at a spa or a fine restaurant, where slices of cucumber or citrus are added to the water pitcher, and their flavors permeate the water to provide the drinker with a special taste experience. Or think of something even more magical, where the flavor of a fresh mango or pear has been infused into water, creating an invigorating deconstructed juice that has the flavor of the fruit but none of its sugar or heaviness—just pure refreshment. Yes, Hint is so refreshing that people who have not been tempted to drink enough water may develop a real thirst for it.

As sophisticated as Hint is, it was not even inspired by adults. Certainly, company founder Kara Goldin is now happy to be able to grab a bottle of cucumber- or pear-infused water as she races through her daily agenda. But as a mother of three, her initial motivation was that although her children were drinking natural fruit juices instead of soda and other drinks, four glasses of juice each day were providing far too many sugar calories. She developed Hint as an alternative beverage that is flavorful and thirst-quenching; one that satisfies a sweet tooth with a hint of sweetness, but without sugar or sweetener. Goldin’s philosophy is summed up in Hint’s slogan: Drink Water, Not Sugar™.

We have had other brands of fruit-infused waters; but even though most flavors were natural, they were so heavy-handed that they seemed artificial. With Hint, the formulations have just the right subtle touch. All of the flavors are natural, and many are prepared from organically grown produce; all are added to purified water. The standard line, which can be purchased from the company’s website, includes Cucumber, Lime, Pear, and Peppermint, plus Apple from the Hint Kids line. Seasonal flavors include Cranberry-Orange, Pomegranate-Tangerine, Tangerine, and Raspberry-Lime.

We drink Hint:

  • For general refreshment, instead of mineral water and iced tea
Cucumber Water
  • As an alternative to less interesting waters, to get our daily quota
  • To satisfy a craving for sweetness and fruit with no added calories
  • To satisfy a feeling for something substantive that we don’t get from plain bottled water
  • As an everyday treat

It’s the water equivalent of refreshing sorbet; but instead of having a scoop of lime, mango, pear, etc., you get to drink it, calorie-free. Unlike with sorbet, part of the joy of Hint is that there’s no need to make a decision about which flavor to have: Your nutritionist, physician, and trainer would encourage you to have them all, every day.

Last summer, Hint was named to THE NIBBLE’s “Best of Show” list: our favorite products from the July 2005 Fancy Food Show. Given how difficult it is for any new product to get off the ground—much less a new water, where the shelves are dominated by huge corporations†—we are delighted to see how much distribution Hint has obtained in the past six months. There’s a long way to go, however, and you can help make this wonderful brand more available to all of us:

  • Ask your local retailer to bring in the line. Retailers are always looking for something new, and they truly are susceptible to consumer demand.
  • If you’re a parent with influence over the choices available to your children at schools and recreational facilities, you can exert it on behalf of the Hint. Kids love flavors like Pear, Raspberry Lime, Strawberry-Kiwi and Tropical Punch.

† The top 10 brands of water in America are made or distributed by PepsiCo (Aquafina), Coca-Cola (Dasani, Evian [with Danone]), Nestle Waters (Poland Spring, Arrowhead, Deer Park, Ozarka, Zephyr Hills, Ice Mountain) and Crystal Geyser.

Hint Water

Send A Hint To Your Retailers

You can get a case of 24 bottles of Hint delivered to you for $44.00, which includes shipping. The cost of $1.83 per 15-ounce bottle is roughly the same as what you might pay at retail, including tax. And you don’t have to carry cases of water around. Just click over to However, do beseech your local retailers to carry Hint, so you can pick up a bottle of whatever flavor you’re in the mood for, whenever you please.

Recently, we stayed at a posh San Francisco hotel—coincidentally for the Winter Fancy Food Show, where we visited the Hint booth and again partook of all of the flavors. At the hotel, a large pitcher of water for guests was laden with fresh mint, lemon and lime slices, and whole jumbo strawberries. It was such a beautiful still life, we hated to disturb it; but thirst trumped art. The taste was exquisite: each fruit and herb flavor had infused so clearly into the water. We could not imagine why everyone didn’t infuse water like this all the time, and we vowed to prepare pitchers of exciting flavored water as soon as we got home.

Cucumber Water

Photo by Melody Lan.

But of course, in the ensuing month, we haven’t gotten close to doing so; Hint, on the other hand, has it bottled and ready to go. It may be just a Hint of flavor in a bottle of water, but it’s clamoring to be discovered.

—Karen Hochman
Updated October 2007

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to your bottled-water-drinking friends and anyone who should be drinking more water (which is probably almost everyone you know).


Cucumber, Lime, Mango-Grapefruit, Pear, Peppermint, Pear, Pomegranate-Tangerine, Raspberry-Lime, Tropical Punch

  • 15-Ounce Bottle
    Suggested Retail Price
  • Case of 24 Bottles
    Shipping Included

Purchase online at

Prices and flavors are verified at publication but are subject to change.

Hint water bottles

Hint waters are available at specialty retailers such as Whole Foods Markets; Gourmet Garage, in New York; Woodlands Market and Glen Ellen Market, in California; and Real Foods, in Utah. You can click here to inquire about a retailer near you: include your city and state.


Read more about fine waters in the Bottled Waters section...

...and check out some of our favorite tableware and books on water, below.


Water Pitchers: Infuse Your Own Water In These Beauties

Bormioli Teal Pitcher Wallace Grand Baroque Ralph Lauren Pitcher
Luigi Bormioli Pitcher. This curvy 64-ounce pitcher is made of opalescent teal lead-free blown crystalline. It measures 5-1/2 by 8-1/2 inches. Click here for more information. Wallace Grand Baroque Silverplate Pitcher. Who hasn’t dreamed of owning a gorgeous footed pitcher like this—Wallace’s most popular pattern. Click here for more information. Ralph Lauren Ironstone Pitcher. Charmingly retro with a glossy white patina, this graceful pitcher will fit with any decor. Click here for more information.

Drink Up!

Water Glasses Red Goblets Evian Mist
“Florence” Water Goblets. Crafted by hand, these elegant glasses feature tinted bottoms with glowing starry blossoms, while the bodies are etched with translucent serpentines. Click here for more information. “Escarlata” Goblets. Who would refuse to drink his water from these regal beauties? Handmade in Mexico, set of six. Click here for more information. Evian Skin Mist. For dry offices and airplanes, this pocket-sized spray is your own personal humidifier. Your skin will drink up the pure mist spray. A true skin saver! Click here for more information.

Water Works

Wellsprings Good Water Guide Bottled Waters
Wellsprings: A Natural History of Bottled Waters, by Francis H. Chapelle and Katy Flynn Brown. Both a revealing account and a user’s guide to natural spring waters, this is a delightful and informative volume about the persons and events that made bottled water an ubiquitous product in the U.S. Make your next drink of water refreshingly informed. Click here for more information. The Good Water Guide: The World’s Best Bottled Waters, by Maureen Green. Published in 1996, this book provides thorough background information on the industry and the brands that dominated the business. Much has happened since (e.g., the entry of Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola into the market), but the basics are still of interest. Click here for more information. Springs and Bottled Waters of the World, by Philip LaMoreaux and Judy Tanner. Provides information for the general public, legal and scientific professionals, and governmental scientists about springs, mineral waters and thermal waters used for municipal, industrial and agricultural water supplies, as well as for the rapidly expanding bottled-water industry. Click here for more information.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, special offers, contests, opinion surveys, THE NIBBLE back issues archive, product gift-finder, links to our favorite food websites, and the ability to nominate YOUR favorite nibbles, visit the home page of

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© Copyright 2004-2006 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All information contained herein is subject to change at any time without notice. All details must be directly confirmed with manufacturers, service establishments and other third parties. The material in this newsletter may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached, or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Lifestyle Direct, Inc.