Agua fresca, which translates literally to “fresh water” in Spanish, is one of my family’s favorite drinks during the hot months of summer. Light and refreshing, agua fresca is sold by street vendors in Mexico and all over Latin America and are just the thing for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. While this is a perfect summertime, non-alcoholic refreshment, if you choose to mix this with your favorite adult beverage, I won’t tell.
Watermelon is the most cost-effective fruit to use, especially to serve to a crowd because it’s literally pennies per serving. But instead of watermelon, you could use any fruit that is soft enough to puree.
What you will need:
4 cups watermelon, rind removed, seeded and diced
4 cups water
2 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. sugar, optional, or to taste
Put watermelon and water into your food processor or blender in small batches. Puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more to combine the flavors. Using a fine strainer, strain into a pitcher but push most of the pulp through with a spoon. Serve over ice. Makes eight, eight-ounce servings.
To make variations of agua fresca: substitute 4 cups of any of the following fruits: strawberries, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple or mango for the watermelon above. Or mix several fruits together to make your own custom blend. Yum! Most fruits blend well with fresh mint or basil and you can add honey in place of the sugar. Any citrus can substitute for the lime. To make this beverage more like a spritzer; add some club soda or lemon lime soda.
Another favorite is cucumber lime: Puree 4 cups chopped peeled cucumbers, 2 Tbsp. lime juice, 2 Tbsp. sugar or honey, 1/2 cup mint and 2 cups water in a blender. Chill 30 minutes, then strain, pressing on the solids. Serve over ice garnished with cucumber and lime slices. This is absolutely divine mixed with a little gin.
Tequila watermelon agua fresca: Here’s how to make a refreshing cocktail with watermelon agua fresca. In a large pitcher, muddle together 2 large mint sprigs (at least 12 leaves), 3 Tbsp. sugar, a pinch salt, 1/4 cup lime juice (that means mash it up really well) Add the 4 cups watermelon agua fresca and 4 oz. tequila, stir to combine then add ice to fill the pitcher. Garnish with watermelon, mint or lime if desired.
Frugal Festivity contributed by Patti Diamond author of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!, www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom