Recipe: Pineapple-Ginger Agua Fresca
When one thinks of ways to relax, most people can agree that sitting on a beach with a cocktail puts us in the right frame of mind. But some of us don’t have access to such things (the beach, that is) and we must resort to using our imagination. It helps, of course, to come up with a fun libation to take the edge off after a long week at work.
The problem that I tend to have is finding a fresh, fruity (though not overly sweet) cocktail that isn’t going to leave me with the feeling that my teeth are rotting. When I came across this recipe for Pinaepple-Ginger Agua Fresca, I knew I had found the perfect base for my drink.
A popular beverage in Mexico, agua fresca, which literally means “fresh (cold) water”, is a mixture of water, fruit puree, and sugar. It is light and thirst-quenching, making it a great beverage to serve at a BBQ. It also pairs nicely with a variety of liquor (which I was happy to test for this post), including vodka, rum, and, my personal favorite, tequila.
I found this recipe to be particularly wonderful because it includes fresh ginger. This added a lovely kick that gave the beverage some depth. There are two suggestions that I want to make regarding this recipe: 1) use more ginger (two tablespoons isn’t nearly enough) and 2) leave the pureed bits in with the liquid. Towards the end of the process, the directions say to strain the mixture. I found that a lot of the flavor left the drink when I did this, so I poured the puree back in.
An added touch of agave nectar doesn’t hurt either. It doesn’t need much, but it helps sweeten it up slightly.
But no matter how you prepare it, you can’t go wrong with this beverage. Its refreshing, tropical flavor will put you right there on the beach… even if you’re in the middle of a bustling city.
Pineapple-Ginger Agua Fresca
(Notes from Bon Appetit: Agua fresca (Spanish for “fresh water”) is a Mexican drink infused with fruits, seeds, or flowers. This one combines the sweetness of pineapple with the spice of fresh ginger. Want to kick the party up a notch? Add a little vodka or tequila. Garnish with pineapple spears.)
Additional note from A Thought For Food: In case you missed the note above, I’d suggest including more ginger… a lot more ginger. And I left the majority of the puree in the mixture because I enjoy having things to chew on (is that strange?)
5 cups 1-inch cubes peeled ripe pineapple (from 1 large pineapple)
4 cups water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons (or more) grated peeled fresh ginger
Fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional)
Agave nectar, to taste (optional)
Choose a golden yellow pineapple that smells sweet and yields very slightly to the touch.
Puree pineapple, 1 cup water, and sugar in blender in batches until smooth. Pour into 8-cup measuring cup. Mix in 3 cups water and 2 teaspoons ginger. Cover; chill until cold, about 4 hours. Strain pineapple mixture into pitcher, pressing on solids in strainer. Add more ginger to taste. Fill tall glasses with ice. Pour agua fresca over.
If you choose to dazzle it up a bit, add a bit of your alcohol of choice (vodka, rum, tequila… all three), a little agave nectar and some basil leaves.