Here in the City of Angels, the thermometer has rocketed into the triple digits. It’s more like gehanna than heaven.
That means it’s time to celebrate Los Angeles’ cultural diversity and make some agua fresca.
An agua fresca is a cold beverage made with blended fruit or juice and water popular in Mexico and Central America. It is similar to a licuado, except a licuado is made with milk and more closely resembles what we call a smoothie.
To make an agua fresca, take 1 to 2 cups of peeled, seeded fruit and blend with the water. Add a sweetener such as agave nectar or honey to taste — but this may not even be necessary with fresh summer fruit. A tablespoon or so of lime or lemon juice will make the flavors sparkle. Garnish with mint, citrus slices or chunks of fruit on a skewer and serve over ice. Peak summer fruits may not even need sweetening.
An agua fresca can be made with chunks of seedless watermelon, cantaloupes, honey dew melons, strawberries, papayas, pineapples or even peeled and seeded cucumbers. A watermelon agua fresca is particularly good blended with fresh mint. A savory agua fresca, such as one made with cucumber, is best with cilantro.
An agua fresca has all the goodness of fresh summer fruit. It’s a thirst quencher fit for angels on a hot summer day.