Watermelon Agua Fresca
Elizabeth Karmel, executive chef, Hill Country
“Fresh water” fruit drinks are served all over Mexico, but when Karmel had trouble finding proper agua fresca in New York, she decided to make some herself. The key is to strain the pulpy fruit to make a clear liquid. Here, St. Germain liqueur adds some depth to the sweet watermelon flavor.
1/2 fresh watermelon, seeded and diced (yields about 6 cups of juice)
2 small limes, juiced
1/4 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt
1 1/2 cups St. Germain liqueur (or sparkling wine), optional
Place a fine sieve in a large bowl or other container. Push watermelon fruit through the sieve to eliminate pulp and collect juice. (You can strain a second time with an even finer sieve or cheesecloth.) Alternatively, purée fruit in a blender and strain through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. Set aside.
In a large pitcher, mix lime juice and salt. Add watermelon juice and optional liqueur, and stir well. Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Stir well just before use.
Pour into Popsicle molds, and let freeze overnight. Serves 12.