On my summer crusade for a new agua fresca each week [or so], I looked for a grapefruit agua fresca. And I looked. And I could not find one. The combination that keeps coming up is Watermelon Grapefruit Agua Fresca. This recipe is distinguished in that you do not have water as an ingredient: all the basic liquid comes from the watermelon. You get a flavor intensity and viscosity that really can only come from creating a fine puree and then filtering out the “bigger” stuff. And, you get this color, this dramatic vampire-red color.
What about the grapefruit? Why not just add grapefruit juice to water? I think it would be too temperamental. Of all the citrus juices, grapefruit is the most variable. It can be sweet, it can be bitter. You just never know what to expect. By using the watermelon juice, you have a very stable base, one that provides natural sweetness. Now the grapefruit juice is merely an amendment, one that renders the final beverage less sensitive to the particular features of your current grapefruit.
I tasted this without adding sugar, and then I added sugar. The difference was an intensification of flavor that I believe is both delicious and necessary. Follow my lead and make the core beverage, then sweeten to satisfy your palate.
The taste here is substantial and very refreshing. The liquid can certainly be the base for cocktail experiments. Some vodka, a little rum, and you’ll be recognized as an up-and-coming mixologist.
Watermelon Grapefruit Agua Fresca
Yield: 1 pitcher full Ingredients:
- 1 ripe watermelon, 10 pounds
- 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
- ½ cup sugar
Get the meat out of the watermelon. Cut the watermelon in half, cut the halves in half, then halve the quarters. Using a sharp knife carefully glide along the skin of the watermelon and liberate the meat. Cut the meat into modest chucks and put into your blender. You’ll have enough for two or three rounds of pureeing. Process each batch for a least one minute. Then pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Press the contents of the sieve with a spatula to extract much of the juice.
For a 10 pound watermelon, you will have a cup or more of residue in the sieve that goes into the sink, not the pitcher. If you love “texture” then pulp away and put it in the pitcher, but agua frescas achieve part of their refreshment value from the sheer smoothness of the liquid.
Add the grapefruit juice, stir to mix, and taste test. Add sugar as needed or preferred. The surface of the liquid will have some scum on it. Use a slotted spoon to remove as much as you can — some bubbles will keep forming as you can see in the picture. Pour the mixture into a pitcher and chill.
Sources: Brian O’Rourke
Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/100th second at ISO-3200
Thirsty? Nothing can quite match watermelon. I’ve actually started eating it by the chunk. But, but, my preference is always to have some liquid I can drink. Those watermelon chunks may be tasty but they would not easily slide down my throat.
Of course, on a hot summer day, patience can be a tad short. Like, I want something cool now. Right now. Really, right now. Here’s a way to get liquid satisfaction from those lovely red flavor gems. This Asian twist is quick, simple and quite
On the streets of Thailand, carts are everywhere offering “spun fruit” or ponlamai puun. You can find these in a myriad of flavor. Myriad means a lot in a tropical country.
This recipe, from LEON: Family & Friends, uses watermelon, readily available and always something to put a bit of a chill on a hot summer day.
You can make up a blender-full of this is minutes, sip away and keep the extra chilling in your fridge. If you need, you can give the mixture a refresh with a few more ice cubes and another spin in the blender.
Here you may want to adjust the salt and amount of sugar syrup. You can always add some mint or basil leaves for an overlay of additional flavor.
Oh, you want a picture of the actual slurpy? Me, too. 4th of July is coming up. Pictures will appear.
Yield: serves 4
- 1 smallish ripe watermelon [4 ½ to 6 ½ pounds], peeled, seeded, diced, and preferably chilled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A few ice cubes
- 2 tablespoons simple sugar syrup
In a blender, or better a Vitamix, process the watermelon, salt, and ice cubes. Test for the sweetness level and add sugar syrup only if needed.