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Anthony Lamas has fond memories of traveling to Tijuana, Mexico, while living in California just to get aguas frescas from street vendors, who would ladle the refreshing beverages over ice. The fruit coolers are simple combinations of fruits, and sometimes cereals or seeds, with sugar and water.
“To Latinos, not even lemonade can evoke summer like aguas frescas,” says Lamas, the executive chef of Seviche in Louisville, Kentucky. “In Mexico, for example, popular flavors include tamarind, passion fruit and mango, but since I am in the South, I like to use peaches and melons. It’s really about using what is local and in season.”
Five Refreshing Aguas Frescas: Anthony Lamas
1. Watermelon Agua Fresca
1 whole watermelon, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (In Mexico, the seeds are served in the beverage, but you may wish to use a seedless variety or seed the melon.)
Place the watermelon in a pitcher and use a potato masher to crush the fruit. Add the sugar and lime juice and cover the mixture with the ice and water. Stir for about 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. To serve, pour the agua fresca over ice and garnish with a lime wedge if desired.
2. Honeydew Agua Fresca
3. Peach Agua Fresca
4. Kiwi-Lime Agua Fresca
1 cup uncooked rice
Put the rice, almonds and water in a blender and blend until the rice and almonds are broken up, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture overnight. Strain the water into a pitcher. Add the ice, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla bean. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
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