Tag Archives: Agua Fresca

Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas

Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasYour eyes are not deceiving you. I’m posting a cold beverage on a sub-30F day here in NYC. If you think I’ve lost my mind, you’re late to the party—I’ve been known to make ice cream in February.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasThe truth is that a small miracle occurred a couple of weeks ago when I managed to find better-than-decent ruby red grapefruit for a third time this winter, something that’s virtually unheard of in New York. I’m lucky to find quality grapefruit once per year (see here, here, and here), so three times is just…well, it’s making my inner Texan very happy. I try to keep that part of myself under control, but it’s very difficult around good South Texas citrus (and enchiladas), so here we are.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas are exactly what I want in these last weeks of winter. They’re a fruity, bright, seasonal, sippable reminder that there will soon be a day when I can leave my coat at home. If you’ve never heard of an agua fresca, it’s just a combination of fresh fruit, sugar, and water. I made a Spicy Mango version last summer that’ll knock your socks off, and I’m excited to be adding a wintry version to my repertoire today ❤ Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasAs their name states, these aguas frescas are made with fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lime juices. They’re mixed together in a pitcher (or a big measuring cup, if you’re me) and sweetened to taste with a little simple syrup. I don’t care for super-sweet beverages in general, so I tend to limit the syrup to 1/3 cup for the entire batch, but feel free to sweeten to your heart’s content.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasYou’ll also need simple syrup for salting the rims of your glasses. Salt is totally dreamy with both grapefruit and lime, so this is one lily worth gilding. Just dip the rim of each glass into a dish of simple syrup and then into salt. Voila! A salted rim 🙂 I used regular Kosher salt here, but anything slightly coarse will do.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasAdd a few ice cubes to each of your salt-rimmed glasses and then fill them 3/4 full of the juice mixture. Most aguas frescas are blended with regular cold water, but I like to top these off with a little sparkling water. I use Topo Chico and love the subtle fizz it provides.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasAren’t these fun?! I love their bright color and fresh, tangy flavor, and those salted rims, of course. They remind me a lot of a Salty Dog cocktail (aka grapefruit + vodka/white tequila + salt), but without the booze. I may or may not have taken to calling these Salty Schnauzers 🙂 Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasYou may, of course, add liquor to the mix, but as someone who doesn’t drink anymore, I’m always thrilled when there’s an alcohol-free option that isn’t soda, juice, or plain seltzer. I may be sober, but that doesn’t mean I only drink boring drinks.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasNope. I don’t do boring.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas

Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas
makes about 6 servings

2 1/2 cups fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (about 3 large grapefruits)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 large, juicy limes)
1/3-1/2 cup simple syrup* (method in recipe notes)
ice
12 ounces sparkling water (I like Topo Chico)

For the salted rims:
1/4 cup Kosher or other coarse salt
1/4 cup simple syrup

In a pitcher or large (4+ cup) liquid measuring cup, stir together grapefruit and lime juices and simple syrup. Set aside.

Salt the rims of the glasses. Put simple syrup in a wide, shallow bowl. Make a bed of salt on a small plate. Working with one small glass at a time, dip the rim of each glass into the simple syrup and then into the salt. Repeat with remaining five glasses.

Place a few ice cubes in each glass. Fill 3/4 full with juice mixture and top each with a little sparkling water. Drinks will fizz (but not overflow) when mixture hits the salt rim. Serve immediately.

Aguas frescas will separate slowly as they sit; counteract this with a light stir. Any leftover juice mixture will keep covered in the refrigerator for a day or so.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before using. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas

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Spicy Mango Aguas Frescas

Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasNew York City has reached a level of heat and humidity that can only be solved with one big cleansing thunderstorm. The trouble is, we don’t really get thunderstorms in New York City—maybe three times a year, and they’re never as spectacular as the storms in Texas.

I recall many times over the course of my childhood where my whole family would gather on our covered porch to watch the rain. Sounds dull, but when you live in a place that’s almost always teetering on the edge of drought, heavy thunder-and-lightning temperature-dropping rain is a thing to see.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasI had forgotten all about watching thunderstorms until I visited my older sister last summer. We had spent all morning boating on Lake Austin, where it was sunny and very hot (because Texas). By time we all got home and cleaned up though, the skies were ominous and the air was so thick, walking outside was more akin to swimming than anything else (because Texas).Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasSpicy Mango Aguas FrescasWhen thunder started cracking, my sister broke out the blender, made some watermelon aguas frescas, and shuffled us all (three geriatric dogs included) out onto the covered porch to watch the storm. I don’t remember what we talked about out there, but I know I’ll remember watching that storm with (almost) all my favorite people and those cool lime-scented watermelon aguas frescas for a long time.

And also how my sister and I put on head lamps and took jigsaw puzzling to a new level as the storms continued and the electricity went out three hours later.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasBut back to aguas frescas. I should probably explain what they are. That’s a good place to start, right? Aguas frescas are a blended beverage made of water, ripe fresh fruit, and sugar, that are popular in Mexico and parts of the U.S. They’re super refreshing and make for a great non-alcoholic option on hot summer days.

I love my sister’s watermelon version, but I got the idea for these Spicy Mango Aguas Frescas last weekend and just had to figure them out. It only took one try—when you’re blending mango, lime, and jalapeño, you’re all but guaranteed to have great results.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasSpicy Mango Aguas Frescas begin with a jalapeño simple syrup. This is the most difficult part of the entire process. Heat equal parts sugar and water with two split jalapeños until the sugar has dissolved.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasLet it steep until the syrup has a good amount of heat…Spicy Mango Aguas Frescas…and strain it out.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasSo, yeah, not difficult at all. This recipe makes more than you’ll need for aguas frescas, but you can keep jalapeño simple syrup in the fridge for weeks on end. It goes well in cocktails and mocktails too—you won’t have any trouble finding excuses to use this combination of sweetness and heat, I promise.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasPour 1/2 cup of your jalapeño simple syrup into a blender, along with some fresh lime juice, water, and 3 cups of fresh mango chunks.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasBlitz it all until smooth…Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasSpicy Mango Aguas Frescas…and strain out the pulp.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasPour it over ice and garnish with lime slices. And maybe some of those paper straws you bought at Target four years ago and keep forgetting about.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasIf you love mango and sweet heat, this is the drink for you. Spicy Mango Aguas Frescas have a rich, sweet mango flavor and a bit of a kick from the jalapeño simple syrup, while the lime and water balance it all out. This is what summer tastes like. For me, anyway.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasWe have storms in the forecast later this week. I’d love to invite you all over to watch them and drink some Spicy Mango Aguas Frescas on a covered porch, but this is New York and nobody watches storms. Also, I don’t have a covered porch.

It’s the thought that counts though, right?Spicy Mango Aguas Frescas

Spicy Mango Aguas Fresca
makes about 6 servings

3 cups fresh mango chunks (about 2 large mangos)
1/2 cup jalapeño simple syrup (recipe below)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2-3 cups water
ice, for serving
lime slices, for serving (optional)

Combine mango chunks, simple syrup, lime juice, and 2 cups of water in a high-powered blender. Put on the lid and blend on medium speed until smooth. Taste for sweetness and heat, and add another cup of water, if desired (I did).

Place a mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture through the strainer, pressing the pulp to get as much liquid as possible. Discard pulp.

To serve, place a few ice cubes in each of 6 small glasses. Divide aguas frescas among glasses. Garnish with lime slices.

Leftover agua fresca may be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Mixture will separate over time; stir before serving.

Jalapeño Simple Syrup
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2-3 fresh jalapeños, stemmed and halved

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool for 45-60 minutes, or until the concentration of flavor/heat is to your liking. Strain out jalapeño halves and any seeds. Store simple syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator.Spicy Mango Aguas FrescasSpicy Mango Aguas Frescas