So I know that it's Labor Day and summer's unofficially over, but that doesn't mean that we have to stop eating and drinking summery things just yet. Aguas frescas ("fresh waters") are a refreshing, usually fruity beverage that originated in Mexico and are now popular all over the Americas. Horchata, a sweet, cinnamony rice drink that also falls under the agua fresca umbrella, is one of my favorite things ever.
On a particularly hot day recently, I decided to test out a fruity variety with the watermelon I had on hand. The bright flavors of watermelon and lime, combined with the chilled quality of the fresh fruit, made it thirst-quenchingly refreshing and just plain tasty. I can't wait to experiment with strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, and maybe even making my own horchata!
One important note: Make sure you use a fine mesh strainer. I couldn't find mine (residual moving chaos) and had to improvise, so my version was somewhat thicker and slushier than it should have been. Still delicious, but not quite as authentic as I had planned. Of course I found the strainer right after I finished making the drink!
Have you ever had aguas frescas? What's your favorite flavor?
Watermelon Aguas Frescas
Adapted from Whole Foods Market
6 to 8 pounds seedless watermelon, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups cold water, divided
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey (more or less to taste)
Lime slices and mint leaves for garnish (optional)
1. In a blender, process half the watermelon pieces with 1 cup of water until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a pitcher. Repeat the process with the remaining melon and water.
2. You should end up with about 8 cups of juice. Stir in the lime juice and agave/honey. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with lime slices and mint.