Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sparkling Watermelon Agua Fresca

Let's take another break from my French Eats posts for another super summery recipe. I mean, what screams "summer!" more than delicious sweet watermelon? Maybe that plastic smell of a freshly unwrapped beachball? That's pretty summery. But you can't eat that so I'm not blogging about it. Anyway, back to watermelon; I have a mild melon allergy but I love watermelon so much that I fight through the itchy throat to enjoy its yumminess.

If you've never had agua fresca before, you're in for a refreshing treat! If you've got any Spanish or Portuguese skills, you'll know that agua fresca translates to "fresh water" but despite that simple name, it's a little more complicated than that. Traditionally, agua frescas are made with fruits, flowers, and/or seeds blended with sugar and fresh water. They're just the most delicious way to hydrate.
Ingredients [yields approximately 3 liters]:
½ regular-sized watermelon or 1 whole baby melon (chilled)
1 L sparkling lime seltzer water (chilled), or any flavor of your choosing
limes and mint leaves for garnish
Cube up some fresh cold watermelon and pop the pieces into a blender. If you've got a seedy watermelon, I recommend ripping out as many seeds as possible before blending. And, unless you've got the world's largest blender, you'll likely have to do this in batches. I ended up having to make three batches.
Puree the watermelon until it's smooth and sippable. If you're not into pulp, you can strain the puree but you'll lose all the lovely TMI benefits of the fiber.
Pour the watermelon puree into a pitcher. As it sits, the pulpy stuff will float and separate from the juice so I recommend leaving a stirrer in the pitcher to give the whole thing a spin before pouring yourself - and your guests - a serving.
Pour the juice into a glass and add in some of the sparkling seltzer. Use about two parts of the watermelon juice and one part of the seltzer. If you're serving all of the agua fresca right away you could also mix the seltzer and puree all at once in a big batch but keep in mind that the bubbles will start to go flat as the drink sits.
Garnish with a lime slice and mint leaves, but only if you want to. I personally love the contrast of the green against the pink; complementary colors! By the way, do you like my pink flamingo stirrer? I hate birds but I have a soft spot in my heart for flamingos because they're pink! PINK! And they stand on one leg! And they are pink! I found these cuties in the dollar section at Target. I would have paid $2!
The watermelon is super fresh and the bubbles from the seltzer make for a really refreshing mocktail. This would be perfect as a summer afternoon sipper but it would also be a great breakfast - think of it as an alternative to a green smoothie. And, even though agua frescas are traditionally non-alcoholic, if you wanted to make this a little more grown up, you could certainly mix in a little clear rum or vodka or tequila. Also, if you wanted this to be extra cooling, you could freeze the watermelon cubes prior to blending and have yourself a slushie treat!
This is a perfect accompaniment to a sunny day. And don't you think this would make a delicious drink for a picnic? It's great for kids and adults alike and it's super healthy and hydrating. Watermelon might seem like it's just sugar and water but it's full of lycopene and citrolline and B6 and folate and fiber and manganese and copper and lots of other good stuff. It's always awesome when delicious things are also good for you.
Here's the recipe page:

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