Okay, I know this one probably sounds a little weird, but trust me. It’s good. Really good. Eye popping, wow, surprisingly good. Especially on a scorchingly hot summer day. Agua frescas are refreshing fruit drinks they sell all over Mexico, and that you can find in this country at almost any taqueria. They’re cooling and sweet and are great alongside spicy food. This particular agua fresca is made with cucumbers, fresh limes, and mint. My good friend and local caterer Arturo Vargas made this for us the other day, inspired by agua frescas he enjoyed while trying to keep cool in the steamy Yucatan peninsula. It’s the cucumber juice base that seems to have the effect of lowering one’s body temperature. (Gives new meaning to the phrase “cool as a cucumber”.) In any case, this is a drink that I wouldn’t have made but for my friend who knew I would like it. And now I want to drink it all summer long, and think you will too, once you’ve tried it.
By the way, Arturo tells me you can take the purée solids and use them as a facial mask!
Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca Recipe
- 1 lb of cucumbers (about 2 good sized cucumbers), ends trimmed, but peel still on, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup lime juice from fresh limes (from about 1 pound of limes, or 5 to 10 limes, depending on how juicy they are)
- 1 1/4 cup packed (spearmint) mint leaves (about a large handful), woody stems removed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- Approximately 1 1/4 cup of water
1 Put ingredients in blender, add enough water to fill 3/4 of blender. Hold the lid on the blender and purée until smooth. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour the purée through it, pressing against the sieve with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid out as possible.
2 Fill a large pitcher halfway with ice cubes. Add the juice. Serve with sprigs of mint and slices of lime.
Yield: Makes about 1 quart (not including ice).