“Rum,” Brian said with confidence. A little too much confidence for my taste, but he was about to be cut down to size.
“No,” I said quietly.
He pondered the pitcher. I knew the mint was distracting him.
“Tequila,” he guessed.
He stooped low to the pitcher.
“NO CHEATING!” I yelled. “You can’t smell!”
“Gin,” he was beginning to snarl.
“No,” I repeated.
“Ah, you’ve tried to trick me. It’s watermelon-flavored vodka.” A bad wild guess on his part. He was wearing down.
“No,” I said. “Give up?”
“Yes, damn you.” He was now meek and tamed, the way any good husband should be.
“Water,” I said.
“Water?” His voice carried terror.
“Yes, water and only water. No booze. No sugar.”
“If I drink that it will kill me,” he protested.
“If you don’t drink it, you’ll wish you had.” Sometimes a wife deserves to be on top.
When it is smoking hot, and for many of you it is triple digit time, this is a most refreshing beverage. Last Saturday we were at Blue Cashew [www.bluecasherkitchin.com] in Rhinebeck, New York for a book signing. Blue is a superior kitchenware store with an upscale stock of goods that will have you happily wandering for hours.
To make a warm day easier, Blue served this delicious water. It’s a simple pitcher with a slice of melon, a slice or two of cucumber, and some mint. Served very cold, it is the perfect pick me up. And, no alcohol. No sugar. Beautiful to behold.
In the end, Brian did taste and he did like it. [I had hidden the sugar container in our kitchen so he had no choice.]
Oh, the book signing was for American Masala by Suvir Saran, a neighbor of ours in the city. Suvir’s Manhattan restaurant Devi has received a Michelin star. You should consider his books or his restaurant for marvelous Indian cuisine.
Watermelon, Mint and Cucumber Water
Yield: 1 pitcher
- 1 thick slice of ripe water melon
- 1 sprig of fresh mint
- 1-2 slices of peeled, seeded cucumber
In a 1-quart or larger pitcher, fill with cold water. Add the melon, mint, and cucumber. Refrigerate until just before serving.
Source: Blue Cashew in Rhinebeck, New York
Here is a very, very, very simple recipe. And yet it is totally delicious and refreshing.
Flavored waters are a staple of Mexican cuisine. On a warm day, and better on a hot one, sitting with a glass of freshly made aqua fresca can simply make a dizzy world seem calm.
As a frequent California visitor, I know the pleasure of just sitting in the shade, sipping something fruity, and getting my energy back. In the Catskills of New York, I don’t have palm trees, the humidity is higher, and I can’t hear the waves on the beach, but I can enjoy my aqua fresco.
This aqua fresca uses watermelon juice alone for the liquid. No added water, just pure, fresh watermelon juice. You can sip the watermelon juice by itself, but adding in some sugar truly brings out the flavor. By itself, pure watermelon juice is, well, watery. Some sugar adds body, adds some calories too, but it does create a beverage that you want to linger on.
There’s not a simpler recipe to make, so go for a big watermelon at your supermarket and give it a try.
Brian’s Watermelon Aqua Fresca
Yield: 10 or more servings depending on the watermelon size
1 medium watermelon
Slice the watermelon and cut into chunks. Using about 2 cups at a time, put the chunks in a blender and process until smooth. You may have to poke the chunks a bit to get them all liquefied. Typically, 2 cups of chunks will reduce to a little over 1 cup of liquid.
As you process each batch, pour into a container with a tight lid. Refrigerate until ready to make your drink.
Shake the container vigorously before pouring. In an ice filled glass, put in 1 cup of the watermelon juice and 1/3 cup of sugar syrup. Stir to mix. Enjoy for the rest of the day.
Source: Brian O’Rourke