One summer, after college, I worked at Whole Foods. It was a very short stint as part of the opening crew of a new store and one that I just, ultimately, wasn’t cut out for. I worked in the kitchen where it was hot from the cooking, humid from the dishwasher, and socially awkward from the insular group of cooks that had moved over from another store together. My report with the chef was good since it turned out I could crimp a billion pot pies neatly and quickly. It was the rest of the staff I couldn’t get in with. It could have been my awkwardness and insecurity or their cliquey dude group, but it was probably both. Sometimes when I’d go into the walk-in to retrieve ingredients, I’d just bask in the refrigerated air for a minute while giving myself a pep-talk to get through the day. Then I’d wait till the last few hours to take my break so the light at the end of the tunnel didn’t seem so far off. I’d usually sit in my car with the AC blasting, chugging a watermelon agua fresca, while counting down the minutes until I could go home. So, basically I crimped pot pies, made salads, blended up agua fresca, and tried not to cry for a month before I peaced the f out and never looked back. The lesson? Life is too short for awkward work environments and the restorative power of agua fresca should not be underestimated.
Fast forward, like 8ish years, and I bought one of those agua frescas of my memories, reminiscing its thirst quenching abilities while I poured it over ice, only to be so disappointed by how cloyingly sweet it was. Sad trombone. But, there’s an upside to what has turned out to be an oddly depressing recounting of jobs-past. Agua fresca is damn easy to make. Like, why haven’t I been doing it for the better part of the last decade? It’s just fruit, water, and sugar. That’s it. Billy just posted this cute throwback number and he describes it like healthier kool-aid and I totally second that description. I opted to go for dark cherries here because I am obsessed with them every summer and always buy a ton and get super mad if I let them get wrinkly and sad before I use them. Also, I have heart-eyeballs for that color. You should probably make this for the 4th of July festivities this weekend, or whatever other weekend happenings you may be enjoying–Netflix binging in your underpants, or whatever. I’m not here to judge. You could probably add some tequila/vodka/gin to this and make it a real party…you know, choose your own adventure.
Dark Cherry Agua Fresca
Makes about 1 liter.
There are a ton of agua fresca variations, but they all pretty much have about 4 cups of fruit (berries, stone fruits, melon) with about an equal amount of water and some sugar. You can pretty much make this with any fruit, just adjust the sugar to taste.
4 cups dark, sweet cherries, pitted
juice of 1 lime
1/3 cup sugar
3-4 cups cool water
Blend the cherries, lime juice, sugar, and 1 cup of water in a blender until the cherries are completely pureed. Stir in the remaining water (2-3 cups depending on how you would like the consistency, I like mine to be fairly thin and watery but still very cherry flavored). Serve in tall glasses over ice. Cheers! [/recipe]