The heat. The intense, searing, broiling, cruel cruel heat of this summer has been almost unbearable. This is the hottest summer I can ever remember Oregon being, and it has made any sort of oven-related cooking in our non-air conditioned house an intensely sweaty and unpleasant experience. This, coupled with the fact that I planted an absurd amount of tomatoes this year, means that I have been eating caprese salad at least once a day. But even with the juiciness of a fresh tomato, on especially hot days the heat still gets to me, and I find myself cursing at the sky, just angrily staring out the window at the sun, stuck inside avoiding heat stroke instead of actually enjoying the summer outside like I should be able to. Days like those, even water doesn’t quench my thirst. And it’s on those brutally hot days that I lean on my old friend, agua fresca. For those of you unfamiliar with agua fresca, it’s one of the simplest things to make, ever. You literally just put chunks of juicy fruit in a blender with cold water, then drink it. When done right, it’s the most refreshing thing, ever. And its name literally means fresh water.
Because of the weird heat we’ve been having, all my heirloom melon varieties came out in full force this summer and have been producing more melons than I can reasonably eat. So, I have started drinking them! They’ve been making some awesome agua frescas, and because I like a little bite in my drinks, I added a bit of lime juice to balance out the sweetness of the melons. And if you have a less sweet variety of melon, you can feel free to add a tablespoon or two of honey to bring in some extra sweetness into the mix. I don’t add ice to my agua fresca before blending because I want it to have a thin and watery texture, but I do serve it on the rocks afterwards to keep it really cool.
And obviously, if you’re looking for a little extra kick, this would taste great with some booze in it. The whole melon-lime combo would be perfect for tequila, but you could put a splash of pretty much any kind of liquor in it and it would be delicious. I usually make a large batch with a 5 lb melon and then keep it covered in the fridge for a couple days, that way I can have at at hand whenever, and at night if I have people over it’s super easy to turn it into a refreshing evening cocktail. And when your house is 87 degrees inside at sundown, it definitely makes going to sleep easier…
Melon Agua Fresca
- 5 lbs melon
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Ice optional for serving
- Seed the melon and discard the seed pulp. Cut the flesh off of the rind into roughly 2-inch chunks. Discard the rind. Place half the melon flesh in a large blender or food processor along with 1 cup water, 1/2 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 tablespoon lime juice. Blend at medium high speed until smooth, then empty it into a large pitcher. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and add the desired amount of ice to the pitcher before serving. Can be kept covered in the refrigerator for a couple days.