Wednesday, July 10, 2013

strawberry mint agua fresca.

I'm going to go ahead and state the obvious.  It's hot.  Standing on the subway platform feels like you are waiting at the gate's of hell (or so what I imagine the gates of hell must feel like).  Walking down the street is a game of jumping from one shady spot to the next in an effort to avoid melting into a puddle of salty sweat.  Clothing is unbearable (especially work clothes which are impossible to remain cool in).  Food is even less appealing (it's too hot to chew) which is why when the dog days of summer roll in, I tend to adopt a liquid diet.  I tend to stick with water mostly because I am fairly apprehensive of soda and I'm not completely sold on these pressed juices (how are 6 pounds of kale squeezed into one teeny tiny super expensive bottle?!) but agua fresca is a drink I can get behind when the temperatures hover near 90 degrees.  Agua fresca is a fancy name for fruit juice.  I've seen all sorts of varieties and now is the time to make them at home when the produce is fresh and in season.  My version involves strawberries picked from a roadside market in Maine mixed with some mint for an extra cooling effect.  Served a top a large amount of ice there is nothing more refreshing for a hot summer day (except maybe a spiked version but I'll let you be the judge of that.)

Strawberry Mint Agua Fresca

This is basically a recipe that can you use as a jumping off point for so many other fruits.  Watermelon and basil would make for a lovely combination as would peach and rosemary.  You can also use these juices in a cocktail since spiked juices are always a good thing. (Tequilla would be my liquid of choice but vodka is never a bad thing.)

Makes about 4 cups

6 large strawberries, washed and hulled (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups)

3 1/2 cups of water, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 lime
8 mint leaves
Ice for serving

Place hulled strawberries in a blender or food processor along with 1/2 cup of water, sugar, lime juice, and 4 mint leaves.  Process until smooth.  Add in the remaining water.  Chill the mixture for at least an hour.

Place ice in glass. Fill the glasses with the agua fresca.  Serve with a mint leave and a wedge of lime.  

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