What’s for drinks: Watermelon aguas frescas

The photographer was worried about color, not composition.

Should it be just “agua fresca,” since there’s just the single flavor? No matter — the important thing is that it’s delicious.

I’ve had a seedless watermelon in the refrigerator almost as long as the vegetables I bought at the farmer’s market, with nebulous intentions of making some sort of delicious iced beverage with it.  But pulling out the food processor and various accoutrements seemed like a lot of work, so it just sat there until today, giving me Sad, Accusatory Watermelon Eyes every time I’d open the refrigerator door.

Click the photo for Martha's recipe (which is where the photo came from, too).

Today was its special day: I decided that I would make watermelon aguas frescas, which I thought would be delicious when fortified with tequila or vodka. The tequila idea came from a recipe for tequila-soaked watermelon wedges that I remembered from an issue of Martha Stewart Living, and vodka was — well, vodka is my staple fortifier.

In the end, I decided I didn’t have the patience for triple sec and extra sugar, so I just removed the green and white rind from the watermelon, chopped it into chunks, then ran them through a food processor until smooth-ish. Then I passed the slush through a fine wire strainer to remove seeds and solids, which is how I ended up with the lovely pitcher of watermelon loveliness above.

I knew that vodka would add a kick, but I wanted something that would add a flavor-kick, too.  I’ve done previous incarnations where I infused some simple syrup with mint, which was delicious but, again, involved extra work. So this time I just went for the freezer, where I store a big bottle of Smirnoff Tuscan Lemonade for occasions where, well, flavor and taste isn’t quite a consideration.

If you’ve got a moment, take a gander at an incredibly entertaining review of the Smirnoff product at the Choosy Beggars blog. One of my favorite passages: “Vodka should taste like nothing at all, and even the finest limoncello is going to have a combination of flavors as delicate as a lemon dipped in window cleaner and then set on fire.  So either this should be blowing a drinker’s collective eyelids off of their heads, or else it should be not unlike every other lemon-hinted vodka beverage that’s out there — and somehow it manages to be neither.” Which I think sums up very nicely why the product is never going to be a star in my drinks arsenal.

However, when you add a liberal splash to watermelon aguas frescas, along with some good old regular vodka, the overall end result is a refreshingly cool iced beverage, sweet with a hint of tartness, and the sort of kick that makes you say, “Sure, I said I was going to be superproductive today, to make up for yesterday’s sloth, but instead I’m just going to sit down on this couch for a little bit and take a moment to really appreciate the air conditioning.”

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

The shirt: “Year of the Cock” (it’s my Chinese zodiac sign!) T-shirt, ordered online
The shorts: Cargo shorts by American Eagle Outfitters, from Buffalo Exchange.
The shoes: “Whirlwind” sneakers, from the Puma store in Soho.

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