Watermelon Agua Fresca

We spent last weekend in the fantastic city of San Francisco. We had an adventure-filled 48 hours that included the Double Dipsea (an amazing trail race beginning in Stinson Beach), a hike on Angel Island and delicious brunch at a small Mexican restaurant in Sausalito. I always prefer coffee to juice at breakfast, but when I saw the Watermelon Agua Fresca on the menu, I had to give it a try.... it was cold and refreshing and sweet from the watermelon but didn't seem to have any added sugar.

Last night we had friends over for a (slightly obstructed) view of the fireworks in Denver from our roof deck. It is still excruciatingly hot here and I wanted to offer a refreshing, summer beverage in addition to beer and wine and water. This agua fresca takes 5 minutes to make and was a hit. You can make it with either tap water or sparkling water (it was a bit more bubbly and refreshing with sparkling water) and I, of course, think it is best consumed through a straw.

Happy 4th of July!

Watermelon AguaFresca
Yield = 1 pitcher

8 cups watermelon, cubed and puréed (approximately 6 cups after blending)
4 cups sparkling water or tap water
1 lime

1. Blend the watermelon to a purée. Pour puréed watermelon into a pitcher to chill.

2. When ready to serve, fill half a glass with the watermelon puree. Add sparkling water or tap water to fill the glass. Squeeze the juice from a slice of lime into the agua fresca and garnish with a lime slice. Serve chilled (and over ice if you'd prefer).

Tips & Variations
You can prepare the watermelon puree up to two days ahead of time. You can also add tap water to the watermelon puree and strain it before chilling it if you prefer no watermelon flesh in your drink. To do this, add 1/2 cup of water to the puree and strain it to leave only the watermelon juice. Also, if the watermelon alone is not sweet enough for you, try adding 1/3 cup of sugar (this recipe from Eating Well might be helpful if you want to add sugar).