Spanish for fresh waters this is a refreshing summer drink with origins in Mexico where it is sold by street vendors. Sometimes you can find agua fresca in large containers in South and Central American stores or restaurants where it is ladled out by the glassful. A great drink for warm weather it's a hydrating and satisfying thirst quencher that is much better than soda or over-sugared bottled drinks and fountain drinks.
Agua frescas are usually made with fruit, lime juice, sugar and water. Watermelon, canteloupe, strawberry, pineapple, and tamarind are popular flavors. When you make them at home the ingredients can be adjusted to account for the sweetness of the fruit you are using and for personal taste. I rarely add sugar because I find that the fruits are sweet enough on their own.
I love using watermelon in agua frescas. Luciano Pavarotti once said, "Watermelon, it's a great fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face." High in vitamin C and lycopene watermelon is also rich in the electrolytes potassium and sodium which makes it a fabulous choice for summer time when we tend to lose a lot of electrolytes through perspiration.
Today I'll be making a watermelon-strawberry agua fresca, here's my recipe:
(makes 4 servings)
2 C. strawberries, dehulled
3 C. watermelon, removed from the rind and pitted
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/3-1/2 C. of ice cold water
Place berries, watermelon and lime juice in a blender
Blend until well mixed
Strain through a medium sieve colander to remove any chunks or seeds that escaped the pitting proccess
Add water until you reach a consistency that you prefer
Some people like it a little sweeter. Taste carefully before adding sweetener, you should not need more than one or two tablespoons of sugar or a few drops of liquid stevia.
photo courtesy of Steve Evans | Wikimedia Commons