Refreshing summer drinks

24 May

Watermelon or Cantaloupe Aqua Fresca

Agua fresca is a light fruit drink popular throughout Mexico. It’s simply made by blending fruit with water, a bit of sugar and a little lime juice. Begin with sweet, juicy melon, or your agua fresca won’t have much flavor.

  • 4 cups diced, peeled ripe watermelon or cantaloupe
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Blend together the watermelon or cantaloupe with 1 1/2 cups of the water, the lime juice and the sugar at high speed until smooth. Strain through a medium strainer into a large pitcher or bowl. Stir in the remaining water. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer. Fill a glass with ice, pour in the agua fresca, garnish with a mint sprig, and serve.

Yield: Four servings.

Variations:

* Stir an additional cup of finely chopped fruit into the strained blended drink and refrigerate for 1 hour or longer.

* For the watermelon version, add 4 hulled strawberries.

* Mango or Pineapple Agua Fresca: substitute mango or pineapple for the melon.

Pineapple Banana Mint Smoothie

This tangy, minty smoothie may have more adult appeal than kid appeal, but it’s certainly one of my favorites. I particularly like it made with almond milk. The pineapple in this drink will give you your daily requirement for manganese, and it’s a good source of vitamins C, B1, B6, copper and dietary fiber.

  • 1 heaped cup (1/4 large or 1/2 small) chopped, cored fresh pineapple
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, almond beverage or rice beverage
  • 6 fresh mint leaves (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon mild honey (check the beverage you’re using to see if it’s sweet first; you may not need the honey)
  • 2 or 3 ice cubes

Place all of the ingredients in a blender with 2 or 3 ice cubes and blend at high speed until smooth.

Yield: One 16-ounce serving or two 8-ounce servings.

Advance preparation: Smoothies should be made and drunk right away. This will thicken and lose flavor if it sits.

***

Strawberry Smoothie

This will taste like a strawberry shake if you use a banana that is truly ripe. Frozen strawberries will lend it a shake-like texture.

  • 1 medium-size or large, ripe banana
  • 1 heaped cup fresh or frozen hulled strawberries
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 to 3 ice cubes

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve right away.

Variation: Almond or rice beverage may be substituted for the milk.

Yield: One 16-ounce or two 8-ounce servings.

Advance preparation: Smoothies should be made and drunk right away. This will thicken and lose flavor if it sits.

Thanks to Martha Rose Shulman

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