It finally got hot in Paris this summer, and the typical midsummer afternoon Perrier was doing nothing for my thirst. I don't like overly sweet sodas and fruit juices. So I decided to try making some agua fresca, a refreshing Mexican fruit-based beverage that I had ordered back in L.A. but never made myself. I looked at a few recipes to get the method down, grabbed the quarter of a watermelon I had in the refrigerator and got to work...I puréed the watermelon in a food processor, strained it through a fine sieve, pressing down on the watermelon pulp to extract the maximum amount of juice, and threw away the solids. I tasted the resulting juice. The watermelon was perfectly sweet, and so was the juice. So I decided to forego the added sugar called for in many fruit-based agua fresca recipes. I filled up a wine glass with lots of ice, added about 2/3 a glass of the watermelon juice, then topped it off with water and a squeeze of lime juice.
You can make agua fresca with cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches or cucumber. You can also infuse it with herbs like mint or basil, make it bubbly with the addition of sparkling water, or spike it with white rum or vodka. It will keep for a day or two in the refrigerator. Tomorrow I'm going to give rice-based horchata a try.