Aguas Frescas Two Ways

Oh right….this is what summer in New York feels like. At dinner–at a centrally air-conditioned restaurant in Chinatown–we joked about asking how much rent at the restaurant would cost. We just could not seem to stand up and walk back outside. But then we did. Somehow we even walked home, albeit with an ice cream stop along the way.

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These aguas frescas are a good thing to have in your refrigerator, if you need some extra motivation to get up from whatever deliciously cool place you are sitting in and walk home. One is a very grown-up cucumber, lime, and mint concoction. The other is a deeply girly watermelon, lemon, and raspberry mixture with a splash of rosewater to make it feel indulgent.

Both are inspired by my daily stops at JuiceLand in Austin, Texas. When I was staying there in May, it was pretty much as hot as it is here now. Knowing I could stop for one of these juices powered me through my two mile walk home every afternoon.

Here, I turned them into true aguas frescas and strained the pulp. It makes the whole process take a tiny bit longer, but I think it’s worth it because it makes these drinks seem downright fancy.

Cucumber-Mint Agua Fresca: 

– 2 cucumbers (find the sweetest ones you can find)

– 2 cups water

– 2 tablespoons agave nectar

– Juice of 1/2 a lime

– 4 sprigs mint

* Blend cucumber, water, lime, and agave.

* Set a colander over a large bowl and line it with folded over cheese cloth or a clean dishcloth.

* Place the sprigs of mint in the large bowl.

* Pour the cucumber mixture into the lined strainer and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

* Remove and use a spatula to press remaining juices out of drained pulp. You can also gather and gently squeeze your cheese cloth to get out remaining juices. Discard solids.

* Enjoy over ice.

Watermelon, Raspberry, Rosewater Agua Fresca: 

– 1 watermelon

– 1 cup raspberries (frozen is fine)

– Juice of 1/2 a lemon

– 1 cup water

– 3 drops rose water

* Blend watermelon, raspberries, lemon, and water.

* Set a colander over a large bowl and line it with folded over cheese cloth or a clean dishtowel.

* Pour the watermelon mixture into the lined strainer and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.

* Remove and use a spatula to press remaining juices out of drained pulp. You can also gather and gently squeeze your cheese cloth to get out remaining juices. Discard solids.

* Stir in drops of rose water.

* Enjoy over ice.

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