One of the first crops of spring to bloom is strawberries. Although it’s not quite strawberry season yet, the offerings in the grocery store are becoming more succulent and plump by the day.
A great way to capture the essence of the impending spring is to use these ruby drops of spring in a refreshing fruit beverage. Agua fresca is a popular Latin American drink that only requires a few simple ingredients, but yields a revitalizing sipper that will not only help to increase your water intake, but tastes great, is low in sugar, and shows off seasonal produce.
‘Agua fresca’ literally means ‘fresh water’, and can be made with a relatively small amount of almost any fruit. Some great infusions include pineapple, peach, watermelon, kiwi or mango.
Here we use fresh strawberries and steep it with a complementary herb: basil. The inherent anise flavour present in basil pairs perfectly with the zing and subtle spiciness in strawberries and perfectly expresses the transition from winter to spring. On top of being robustly flavoured, it is a cinch to make.
This is a perfect offering to accompany a brunch, and can even be used as a richly flavoured component in a cocktail or mimosa – perfect for those luxurious holiday weekends.
2 cups of strawberries, chopped
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon of agave or honey (this may change depending on the sweetness of the strawberries)
1/4 cup of basil leaves, torn
In a blender, combine the strawberries, water, lime juice, and sweetener and blend until fully emulsified
Strain the mixture into a jug and stir in the torn basil and let infuse in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour
Enjoy over ice
You can also use this agua fresca as an alternative to orange juice in a mimosa or in a cocktail with vodka, limoncello vodka, and sparkling water.