Cool as a Cucumber – Summer Agua Fresca

Got lots of cukes in your garden? Here’s a super-refreshing summer drink to make good on your garden’s goodness.
Agua Fresca (Spanish for “fresh water”) is a combo of fruits, cereals, flowers, or seeds blended with sugar and water to make  a light non-alcoholic beverage.
This recipe is refreshing, yet has a little zip from a hot pepper.
I added an alcoholic version too. See Chef’s Note for that.
Enjoy!

Cucumber Agua Fresca

Cool as a Cucumber – Summer Agua Fresca
by Chef Steffani Adaska
Serves 12

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups sugar
10 cups cold water
2.5 pounds cucumbers, peeled, coarsely chopped (more for garnish)
1 cup fresh lime juice plus
1 jalapeno pepper or serrano chile, seeded, minced (more for garnish)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Ice cubes
12 thin cucumber slices (for garnish)
12 fresh mint sprigs (for garnish)
12 lime slices (for garnish)
12 slices of jalapeno pepper or serrano chile (for garnish)

Make Simple Syrup: Stir sugar and 2 cups water in large saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat Pour into bowl, bring to room temp, then chill. This can be up to 1 week ahead and kept in fridge.
In a blender, working in batches, puree cucumbers, lime juice, jalapeno or chile, salt, with 2 cups of your simple syrup until smooth. Strain puree into large pitcher or bowl. Mix in 8 cups cold water.*
Cover and chill 2+ hours or overnight.
Fill glasses with ice cubes. Add a cucumber slice, lime slice, mint sprig and jalapeno slice to the rim of each glass. Pour your chilled cucumber goodness into each glass and serve.

*Chef’s Note: If you are daring and want to  impress your friends with a fun summer drink, try an alcoholic version. Swap out 4 cups of the water and with 4 cups of vodka.  (I love Tito’s Vodka with this drink.)

Yummy!!!! Be careful, they go down quickly.

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