How can you drink a peach?
This is the latest agua fresca recipe in this summer’s agua fresca marathon. And it’s a delight. From The Perfect Peach, the key to this successful recipe is the first ingredient: 2 gushy peaches. The authors of The Perfect Peach, the clever Masumoto family, describe peaches in a spectrum of usabilites: hard, firm, with a little give, soft, gushy, bruised and mealy [which is a complicated word for not usable, just toss it].
Peaches with a little give or soft are the ideal ones for most recipes. But gushy, those over ripe ones that may have slight bruising, the ones that you have to eat over the sink, well, the gushy ones are what you want for an agua fresca. They are peach flavor bombs and should never go to waste.
The original recipe, shown below, calls for 4 to 6 cups of water. If you read this blog, then you know I love intensity of flavor. So, when I made this, I used only 2 cups of water. And, it was way too intense, even for me. I compromised, I added a cup of water, and I found 3 cups of water was just peachy. [I’m sorry, but if you think I was not going to use that terrible pun, well, then you don’t know how immature I can be.]
In each instance when you make this, the amount of water actually depends on the gushiness of the peaches and their sheer physical size. So, I would suggest making this agua fresca light on the water side and diluting it as needed with additional water, just as I did.
Peach Agua Fresca
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 2 gushy peaches, peeled, pitted, and quartered
- ¼ to 1/3 cup turbinado sugar
- 4 to 6 cups water
- Squeeze of fresh lime juice
- Ice cubes, for serving
- Mint sprigs for garnish
Place the peaches, sugar, and water in a blender and process until the sugar has dissolved and the peaches are liquefied. Add the lime juice and process briefly to mix. Serve in tall glasses over ice. Garnish, if you wish, with mint sprigs.
Source: The Perfect Peach by Marcy, Nikiko and David Mas Masumoto
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑2500
Growing up in Oregon, I was surrounded in spring and summer by fields of berries, mostly strawberry because they have higher productivity than raspberries. And strawberries behave themselves, while raspberries tend to “grow wild” and spread out of control. They are members of the rose family after all.
The United States grows 9% of the worldwide crop. Russia grows 26%. I have no idea what Putin and his associates do with them. I will research. There’s only so much vodka you can make.
The beverage above has no vodka, but it does have a bit of a kick. This is my latest agua fresca and I investigated what to do about the essential flavor of raspberries. Don’t get me wrong. I love raspberries. The color of raspberry red is immediately recognizable. Darker, deeper, more mysterious than pure strawberry read.
No, my issue is that raspberries tend to be tart and have a monolithic flavor. These days, mixologists will use 6+ ingredients to create cocktails with an abundance of flavor notes and layers. Wine makers have, of course, been doing the same for centuries. There is surely some difference between a deep Burgundy and the one-note of Welches Grape Juice.
Same issue as the raspberries: one note. The skills of a mixologist need not be devoted to just cocktails. Any beverage can be experimented with, extended, and amplified.
To give raspberries more flavor here, I’m doing a yin-yang approach. There is some lemon juice, which always brightens. There is sugar to sweeten. And there is Adobo Honey — see yesterday’s post! — for a second layer of sweetness and just the barest image of heat in the finish of your sip. This drink is not fiery, but it has full sweetness and series of flavor layers that you will sense and adore.
About the sweetness. This recipe calls for 1 cup of simple syrup, which consists of ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar. You’ll find agua fresca recipes that call for a range of sugar: from 1 tablespoon to that full ½ cup. You can adjust as you wish. But the sugar syrup is viscous, and I find that it adds some body to the drink. Textures is one of the senses involved in “tasting” food and here the syrup plays a double role of sweeter and “thickener.”
To make it easy for you, the Adobo Honey is made with ⅔ cup honey and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle pepper in adobo. Please, start with 1 teaspoon the first time out. Go for more heat in future experiments.
Raspberry Adobo Agua Fresca
Yield: 4+ cups
- Two six-ounce packets of fresh raspberries
- 3 cups of water
- Juice of one medium lemon
- 1 cup of simple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of Adobo Honey
Put the berries and water in a blender and process for two minutes. Strain through a fine wire mesh sieve. There will be considerable residue — with a blender and even with a Vitamix.
Stir in the lemon juice, simple syrup, and adobo honey. Mix very thoroughly. The honey can be viscous, so you may want to warm it before stirring in.
Chill thoroughly before consuming. At least 4 hours. And then, you can taste test. More sweetness is unlikely. But you can mix this agua fresca with some sparkling water to dilute the flavor a tad while imposing those bubbles. Or, you can mix this with the sparkling wine of your choice, in the proportions of your choice, to create an unmatched summer aperitif.
Sources: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.0 for 1/15th second at ISO-3200