Here is a Mexico intermission. Get out your blender and make a nice pitcher of agua fresca so that you will have a refreshment on hand when I post the second half of my Mexico trip. This is a drink I came upon in San Angel and it was so delicious. I’ve had agua fresco before but never this combination. It is so simple and it is fresh and lovely, as the name implies. I will tell you all about the sweet little restaurant and art gallery where I was served this tasty beverage in my post on Mexico City, as well.
In the final photo there is but one glass left. That is because I was racing my son Ford. He was gulping down glass after glass while I was trying to get off shots of the fruity beverage. And, with ½ cup of sugar to almost 2 quarts of agua fresca , it is not the worst thing your kid can chug, given that there are actually cucumbers and lime involved. Roughly, there are about 3 teaspoons of sugar per cup of agua fresca, and a soda has around 7½ teaspoons of sugar per cup. Kool-Aid has twice as much sugar as this, as well, to put it in perspective. Also, I still found this to be plenty sweet. You might like to cut the sugar back further or experiment with agave nectar. I’m sure it would be delicious, as well (and yes, I get that having my son chug almost a quart of the stuff he was getting a lot of sugar, but I also guarantee you that he would never have eaten an entire cucumber any other way…so maybe there is some equilibrium there). But, at any rate, it isn’t health food. I’m not claiming it is. I’m merely claiming that it is delicious. And, I don’t even like cucumbers that much, either.
Most recipes for agua fresca call for straining out solids after blending. I’ve made this about 3 times since returning and I have yet to strain. I kind of like the thick frothy texture. But know that if you want a clearer and thinner concoction, you can strain the drink before serving it.
If I were to paraphrase this recipe it would be “put fruity stuff in a blender with some sugar and a little ice and a bunch of water and call it good!!”
½ cup sugar
½ cup lime juice (approximately 5 limes)
3 cups chopped and seeded cucumber (approximately 2 medium cucumbers)
Pinch of salt
2 cups ice
3½ cups water (divided use) and more to taste
1. In a heatproof measuring glass combine the sugar with enough simmering water to make 1 cup of liquid (about ¾ cup of simmering water). Allow the sugar to dissolve into the hot water, stirring occasionally. This water should cool significantly by the time you use it.
2. Juice the limes. Peel, seed and chop the cucumbers. Place the cucumbers in the blender. Add the lime juice, the dissolved sugar, and the pinch of salt. Process until completely smooth. Remove half of the pureed cucumber mixture to a pitcher. Add the ice to the remaining half and process until smooth. Add the remaining puree to the pitcher. Add the remaining (approximately 2¾ cups) water to the pitcher. Taste the agua fresca and add more water if you prefer a less sweet version. Serve cold.
Note: I don’t serve this over ice because I put ice in the blender which chills the beverage. You can use water in the blender instead of ice, but I would use a bit less water at first and add it to taste. The water combined with ice in a glass will dilute the sugar considerably. AND, don’t you just love my big plastic tea pitcher. I’m pretty sure someone was supposed to give me some photogenic Simon Pearce hand-blown glass pitcher at food stylist orientation (what???). But it is good to have pitchers that can double for plant watering and row boat bailing, too, right?