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What to Add to Your Hookah Base

What to Add to Your Hookah Base

By seamus / February 24, 2009

Note: This blog was last updated July 25, 2022

People are always asking us, "What else besides water can I put in my hookah base to add a dimension of flavor and thickness to the smoke?" Great question, and it's one that we here at have toiled with for years. WATER is and will always the best thing for your hookah but we know you wanna do something new and creative. So without further ado here are the top ten things to add to your base to improve thickness of smoke and/or flavor:

Fruit Juice

I'm a sucker for fruit punch or any sweet tropical juice, but I also truly enjoy cranberry juice or lemonade in the base for the pleasant twinge of flavor they add. Cranberry is great because it's not a common shisha flavor and mixes well with citrus, chocolate, or vanilla.


An easy way to up the level of sweetness to your smoke is by filling your base with your favorite soda. While we don't really endorse any particular brand, orange soda will always hold memories of roller skating to disco music so it's hard to pass on. (note: we recommend using flat soda, as the carbon dioxide in newly-opened sodas will "fizz" in the base and may get in your hoses)


The easiest and most common thing to add to your base. Ice is great because by cooling the smoke ever further, the smoke becomes smoother and easier to draw and in turn adds to the thickness of smoke. It's important to remember to NOT clean your hookah base with warm water right after smoking with ice, as extreme temperature changes can jeopardize the structural integrity of the glass base.

Margarita Mix

Who doesn't secretly dream of acoustic guitars and hammocks on the beach? Me neither, but I do enjoy a tall Margarita. Without wasting any tequila you can add some Margarita mix and ice to your base for that sweet, tangy key lime pie taste. It mixes great with strawberry shisha while not inhibiting any motor skills.

Grenadine and/or Simple Syrup

Lime Rickey's can now be had in your hookah! All you need to do is add a little simple syrup to your base and your hookah can host a cornucopia of flavors that could never be rendered in shisha. One more time just a little will do.


For aristocrats only. Wine in the base will not get you drunk, although it may leave you feeling silly for wasting wine. Nothing above table wine is recommended as you'll still get the general flavor of wine; any subtlety of more expensive wines will go up in smoke.

Flavor Extract

Bean or fruit extracts (vanilla, almond, lime, etc.) are dynamic additions to the water in your base. Only a few drops of any cooking grade extract can significantly alter the flavor of your smoke and enhance the experience.


The best of two great dimensions; the cooling affects of ice and the added flavor of fruit. Again we do not endorse any brand but green popsicles are the best!

Frozen Fruit

Fresh outta the bag or fresh out the container, either way tossing some frozen pieces of fruit gives a chill to the water and subtle taste later on. Be sure to add water before dropping these rock hard tasty pieces inside. Add a mint leave to this blend for a nice touch.


Adding a few curiously strong crushed mints to the water in the base (and, if you are so bold, ice as well) will leave you with a cool refreshing minty smoke. If you don't want a powerful mint in the base test out the fruitier mints with citrus based flavors for a lovely boost of flavor.

And so there is our list of the best things to add to your hookah for a little extra kick. Please keep in mind that any time that you add something to your base, make sure to clean with extra care immediately afterwards (warm water and lemon juice with baking soda work best, or natural Bling Hookah Cleaner). Since we've covered the good, please forgive the pessimist in me for quickly running over the bad:

What NOT to Add to your Base

Milk: Milk may do a body good but doesn't do the same for your hookah. While we've heard people swear that smoking your hookah with milk in the base will create thicker clouds of smoke, we've found that the bubbles from the milk are easily drawn into the hoses of your hookah, quickly creating a sanitation issue and ruining any potential benefit. It also stains the base and leaves an unpleasant odor that's hard to eradicate.

Edit: We're talking about using nothing but milk in your hookah base. A few of you have emailed us saying that adding a small amount of milk to the water won't cause bubbles to get in the hose. We advise to use milk at your own risk!

Beer: For all the things beer is great for (making bad decisions, improving looks, humor, etc.) adding flavor to your hookah is not one of them. Again, the bubbles and smoke do not bode well for the flavor of your favorite lager or the life of your hookah.

If you have tricks or treats that we neglected to mention, please let us know and we will be happy to amend our list. As always, happy smoking!

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