I was very excited to be asked to participate in this weekend's first ever Freshworks Festival benefiting Jones Valley Urban Farm in Birmingham. Jones Valley is a teaching farm and a garden oasis in the center of downtown Birmingham. Their slogan is "Jones Valley is not just a place where delicious food grows, it is a place where young minds blossom." Their mission is to make the community a healthier place through programs centered around growing fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Freshworks Festival was a day of music, local growers, chef presentations, and food... lots of delicious food, most of it handcrafted from locally produced ingredients. I was honored to be asked to do a presentation for the inagural event and was so pleased to meet so many new friends. One of these new friends is Brittany Russell... Brittany wrote about the day on her blog The Veggie Vore. Read all about Freshworks Festival 2012...
Here's what I made for my presentation... Fresh Fruit Aqua Frescas. Agua Fresca (Spanish translation is fresh water) is fruit infused water. If you have ever been to Mexico, you probably had one. Simply put, it is fruit puree, a bit of sugar and some water. I love them for a party because they are not only delicious, they are simple to make, healthier than soda and sooo refreshing!
You can make almost any type of Aqua Fresca... even sliced cucumber in ice water is so refreshing on a hot day and you really get the flavor of the cucumber. My favorite agua frescas are strawberry, watermelon, and cantaloupe. Other favs are peach, honeydew, blackberry and pineapple.
FRESH WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA
1 small seedless watermelon
1/4 cup sugar (more or less to your taste)
a tiny pinch of kosher salt (omit if you want but it helps bring out the flavor)
Juice of 1/2 lime
4-6 cups water or to taste; this will depend on several factors... how large your melon is, how juicy it is, and how strong you want the resulting drink to be. I like a strong fruit flavor so I use less water, others prefer a hint of juice so use more water.
Cube and seed the watermelon and place in a food processor or blender... or you can use an immersion blender like I do. Add 1 cup of water.
Puree the fruit completely until it is thinned out. Strain the juice with a fine mesh strainer (or you can use cheesecloth) to remove the pulp. Add the sugar and remaining water. Serve over ice with fruit wedges or mint as a garnish.
Use Infused Simple Syrup
I love to use my favorite infused simply syrups to make agua frescas. I use the mint simple syrup with canteloupe or watermelon. I use basil with strawberry. I use vanilla with pineapple. Get the recipe...
Make it Fizzy
When it is hot outside, a fizzy or sparkling drink just seems to make you cooler... I'm not sure why. I often use club soda instead of tap water for agua frescas... especially if I am going to add alcohol to them.
Add a Kick
If you want to serve Agua Frescas as a cocktail, you can! Reduce the amount of water by half and add Prosecco or Champagne... you will have a Bellini or Mimosa sort of result.
You can also add vodka or tequila to kick these into a true cocktail. Add your alcohol of choice before you add the water. Top with club soda.