Agua Fresca de SandiaIt’s summertime, and finding ways to stay cool can be challenging. There are some refreshing and energizing drinks that will keep you cool while avoiding the high temperatures.

Agua Frescas (fresh or flavored water) are huge in the Southwest, Mexico, and Central America. Kinds of Agua Frescas include tamarind, hibiscus, horchata (rice), and different kinds of fruit, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, even cucumber and mint.

During research for these recipes, I came across “infused” simple syrups. Basil, and Ginger infused simple syrups are the ones that caught my eye. I tested the ginger, and wow…can I say again use this in the Agua De Fruta. Exceptional.

Here’s some variation recipes to get you started. Experiment and see what you can come up with. The point is to obtain the flavor and color of the fruit without making a slushie or smoothie.

Agua De Fruta
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 watermelon, peeled and seeds taken out (use seedless for less work)
  2. 6 cups water
  3. 1/2 cup sweetener (if using stevia, use less), or
  4. 1/2 cup ginger infused simple syrup
  5. Juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Peel watermelon and discard seeds, if necessary.
  2. Blend 1 cup fruit to 2 cups water at a time.
  3. Strain mixture and pour into pitcher.
  4. Add sweetener, mix, chill and serve garnished with mint.
Kitchen Shaman http://kstest.kitchenshaman.com/
Tamarindo Fresca
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb Tamarind pods or 1/2 block of *tamarind pulp
  2. Sweetener to your liking, or simple syrup
  3. 2-3 quarts water
Instructions
  1. Remove the seed pod coverings, and with your hands mash up all that pulp.
  2. Get rid of the seeds, and then strain the rest of the pulp. Straining can be a two step process; Strain once, then again, with a coffee filter (you can use muslin) in your strainer. This removes the excess sediment if you want a clearer beverage.
  3. Taste, add more sweetener if needed.
Notes
  1. Chill. Serve cold over ice, with spicy Tofu Chili Tacos, and rice and beans.
Kitchen Shaman http://kstest.kitchenshaman.com/
Jamaica (Hibiscus) Fresca
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Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
7 min
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Hibiscus flowers
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 1/2 cup simple syrup
Instructions
  1. Rinse and drain the hibiscus flowers in a colander.
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the hibiscus.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the flowers release their color.
  4. Remove from heat. Let stand for 2-3 hours, then drain. Strain out the hibiscus, add simple syrup to the water, mix.
  5. Serve chilled to thirsty guests.
Notes
  1. Don't be afraid of the time it takes to make this drink. There are other things you can do while the hibiscus is standing.
  2. Jamaica (Hibiscus) can be found next to the tamarind in the bulk food section of grocers like Los Altos Ranch Market, or Food City. If you don't have a Mexican or Indian grocer in your area, you can order Jamaica online.
Kitchen Shaman http://kstest.kitchenshaman.com/