After living in Mexico for a number of years, I am finally braving the world of aguas frescas. Now, clearly I've drunk enough agua fresca to drown myself many times over. But this is the first place I've lived since Morelos (where they kept me supplied with the good stuff a few times a day) that's hot enough to make the hassle of making agua fresca worthwhile. So, here goes.
Week #1: Jamaica
Yes, you see that right, just like Jamaica the country. In Spanish, Jamaica the island should be a land principally populated with hibiscus flowers (as jamaica means hibiscus in English). This reminds me of how, in my head, the state of Michoacan should posses nothing but mountains of ice cream, rather like a Homer Simpson daydream. Unfortunately, this is not reality, and I digress.
Anyway, jamaica water is, what my professor called, the original Kool-Aid. Just not near as sweet, no matter how much sugar one adds. And, just like red Kool-Aid, it stains something fierce. Often, though, it satisfies more than the plain, boring, out-of-the-garrafon water.
How to make it? I'm still sorting out the correct proportions, but first it's necessary to get a big bag of dried jamaica flowers from the grocery store or fruit stand (for those lucky enough to have those nearby . . . about the only thing I miss from Metepec (besides Mario's family, of course)). Boil 2 quarts of water (or however much water fits inside your pitcher). Once boiled, turn off the heat and add about 1/3 cup of the jamaica flowers. After seeping sufficiently (I let them go most of the morning, which was doubtlessly overkill), add sugar (about a 1/4 cup), and let chill in the fridge.
Ahh . . . delightful!
And, for those who may be pregnant and bloaty, it's also a great natural diuretic. Hoo-boy! (Because a pregnant woman is really going to want to make herself pee even more than normal . . . right.)