Hello, Aquas Frescas! My favorite drink of all time, it’s Spanish or Portugese for “fresh waters”. These lovely concoctions are simple, refreshing and nutritious.
In my house, I make a new flavor each day and we all drink a lot more fluids, because of it. The flavor today is strawberry basil and it’s oh-so-good. Kept in one of these help yourself jars, my cherubs can do just that. All day long. They drink water, but really, who drinks enough? This is an irresistible way to hydrate and adds nearly zero calories to your daily intake.
Aquas Frescas is nothing more than fruit, optional herbs and filtered water. You can add a small amount of cane simple syrup if you like, but it’s not necessary. Here’s the low down on how to make it:
1. Throw some fresh or frozen fruit in a blender. I use a regular sized bag of frozen, or a few cups of fresh. (Today I used yesterdays slightly shriveled strawberries - pardon the alliteration.) It really depends on your container size. Experiment with the amounts and remember what you liked for the next batch. It’s not an exact science.
2. Next, add filtered water almost to the top. Blend until smooth.
3. Place a mesh strainer over the top of your jar and pour the liquid in. If it strains slowly, use a rubber spatula to press the liquid through. When the liquid slows almost to a stop, dump the pulp or seeds into a bowl (to compost later), rinse the strainer and start again. Repeat until all the fruit has been strained. Of course, you can just add the pulp and seeds if you like it that way, but it will be thicker and less water-like.
4. Fill the jar almost to the top with filtered water and stir. Voila! Now you have Aquas Frescas.
A couple of things to note. I do not put ice in the jar. I think ice tends to change the flavor if it melts in the jar all day long. I add ice to the glass before I drink it. Usually it’s more like a guzzle, so the ice doesn’t have time to melt. I swirl the jar before I pour because it will separate over time.
If you like a little sweetness (or a lot), you can add some simple syrup, agave or diluted honey. I keep a mason jar of simple syrup in the fridge for this. Just boil 2 cups of organic cane sugar and two cups of filtered water. Cool and pour it into the jar. It keeps for weeks. If you want, add a little at a time to taste.
If you are going to add herbs, put a little syrup in a glass and use a muddler or the back of a spoon to bruise the herbs. This will allow the herbs to release their essential oils. If the herbs are large, like basil or mint, add it to the jar. If they’re small, you might want to strain them out.
Here are some suggested combinations that I happen to like:
strawberry and basil
pineapple and mint
blueberry and lemon
watermelon and mint
lime and mint
orange and strawberry
raspberry and orange
honeydew, mint and lime
…the list is endless. Get creative, add some green tea, coconut water or sparkling water. Feel free to share any other suggestions.