While San Antonio has a rich and diverse history of many nations, and is quickly growing to be one of the richest in food varieties, our heart and soul comes from south of the border. There are so many perks to living somewhere with a really strong hold on its heavily Mexican roots. The beautiful architecture, the amazing food (both Tex-Mex and full on Mex-Mex food) the margaritas, the pre packaged salsa garden bundles at the nursery in the spring. My favorite, though lesser known, treat is a cold, cold aguas frescas.
Literally translating to “cool waters”, aguas frescas (ag-uahs fres-cahs, if you’re uninitiated) can be found in huge glass jars from the highest of the high end eateries, to gas stations and little side of the road stands the majority of the year. I love the variety of flavors you can make – everything from melon, to flowers, to seeds can be made into an aguas frescas – because basically you’re blending water, pulp and a sweetener. The recipe below was inspired by a recipe I read several years ago. The author’s grandfather lived in rural Mexico and didn’t have access to sugar – but his mother kept bee hives and used the honey as the sweetener. The riper the fruit, the less sweetener you need and it’s completely customizable.
This batch was made with the remnants of a watermelon I balled for Mother’s Day brunch. (and can we have a moment for that amazing color!?) There is a basic method but then after that, it’s all adjustable based on preference! This made a small batch
about 3 cups chopped watermelon
1 ½ish cups cold water
½ cup (or so) really warm water
2 tablespoons honey (give or take)
juice of half a lemon (or lime)
1. Extract the juice from the watermelon, and separate it from the pulp. You can either a) plop it into a blender and give it a whirl, then strain or b) use a potato masher to smash it in a bowl and then strain because you don’t want to get the blender out and then have to clean it.
2. In a pitcher large enough to hold all the liquid, combine the watermelon juice (there should be quite a lot!) with 1 cup of water. Taste. Decide that it could use another cup of water, then another half cup. Because it just tastes good.
3. Stir the honey into the really warm water so that it becomes basically a honey-simple syrup and then combine with the water and juice. Taste. Add more if you want.
4. Stir in lemon or lime juice (or not because its just so good all by itself).
5. Enjoy over ice. With some mint, or lemon slices, or watermelon balls, or vodka, or split half and half with lemonade, or use it to make a margarita.
6. Give yourself a pat on the back.
If you’re feeling wild, mix half/half with lemonade, add a splash of vodka or tequila, or cut with some sparkling water for a dinner party drink. Most of all, enjoy!