Agua De Pepino
2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
5 1/2 cups cold water, plus additional if desired
4 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup simple syrup (or to taste)
Chili pepper or salt (optional)
In a blender, puree the cucumbers in three batches along with 1/2 cup water in each batch. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a large pitcher. Add three more cups cold water, the lime juice, and the simple syrup. If desired, add a pinch of salt or chili pepper, to taste.
Chill well. Stir before serving.
It makes a drink that's almost unnaturally green. Most commercially grown and sold cucumbers have a coating of wax on them, which is why we're peeling them here. If you grow your own, or can get some organic cucumbers, you could probably skip the peeling part.
Simple Syrup: Combine 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water in a sauce pan. Stir to mix. Then place over medium-high heat to dissolve. Let the mixture come up to a rolling boil (the mixture will turn completely clear at this point), then remove from the heat and let cool. In addition to this recipe, this syrup is good for sweetening drinks that are already cold, like iced tea or iced coffee, since sugar granules don't dissolve as well in cold liquid.
Adding sparkling water would be a nice change, or more lime if you really like the tart taste. Watermelon agua fresca would go well in this, too. And the chili pepper? It just makes everything pop - just don't use too much. Be sure to stir the agua de pepino before serving, as it will separate in the fridge.
Pairs Well With
Here's another agua fresca I've recently become hooked on. At first blush you might think "drinking cucumbers? What's wrong with this guy?" but I was pleasantly surprised the first time I tried it. The drink smells like cucumber, but tastes very much like melon, and the lime cuts through nicely for just a hint of tartness. This version came out of the local paper's weekly magazine. Another great alternative if you're sick of iced tea.