While there are many things I love about San Francisco, the gloomy summer is not one of them. I don’t regret swapping my winter parka for a windbreaker, but now that June has passed and July is almost gone, I’m yearning for an opportunity to throw on my flip flops and bask in the sunshine. I’m used to Saturday mornings spent with bagels and iced coffee in hand while rushing to get to the Garden State Parkway before the bridge traffic begins. I miss my shore, and I’m longing for frozen custard, fried fish sandwiches on the boardwalk, and digging my toes in the sand while watching the waves roll out.
Karl the Fog prevents most of these activities, but I suppose I could just rent a car and drive out of the city to enjoy the warmer weather. Until then, I’ll be in jeans and a hoodie, sitting in Lafayette Park, drinking a watermelon, lime and mint agua fresca, pretending that the fog rolling over the hills of San Francisco is just a passing wave. A girl can dream, right?
Refreshing and bright, this Mexican drink translates to ‘fresh water’ and is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot day. Typically sold by street vendors to cool off during the summer, agua frescas are usually kept quite simple, with just fruit, a bit of sugar, and some water blended and strained until smooth. I didn’t think the watermelon needed any other sugar, so I doctored this recipe up as a play on one of my by adding some lime and mint to round out the juicy watermelon flavor. They are perfect to sip on their own, but you can also slip in some rum for an incredibly delicious mojito. Whip up a pitcher this weekend and enjoy!
Watermelon, Lime & Mint Agua Fresca
3 lb seedless watermelon, trimmed and cut into cubes (approx. 4 cups)
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup lime juice (juice of 2 limes), plus extra slices for garnish
zest of 2 limes (optional)
2 -4 sprigs of fresh mint, plus a few leaves for garnish
Using a blender (I used an immersion blender) puree cubes of watermelon until smooth. Pour into a pitcher and add the lime juice, lime zest, sprigs of mint and stir until incorporated. When ready to serve, muddle mint in the bottom of a tumbler, add a few cubes of ice, and pour watermelon mixture over the top. Garnish with a slice of lime and a few mint leaves.
Note: I didn’t strain my watermelon puree, but if you’re finding a few lumps, feel free to strain out before mixing. If using rum or other alcohol, replace with the 1/2 cup of cold water.