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Noncarbonated Mexican Drinks - All Natural
Fruits, Flowers, and Grains
As the globe grows smaller through advanced communication methods and technology, we are learning to make foods and beverages from others' ingredients. Some of these elements are surprising if you have not considered them before - rice, flowers, and the tamarind.
Long-time Mexican beverages that are not carbonated or fermented contain fruits and flowers and are quite good. Some of them, especially the lime drink below, can be incorporated to alcoholic beverages and meat marinades with the addition of regional tequilas.
The Mexican Lime
The Mexican Lime is also known as the Key Lime and is more tart than other limes.It is also a little more difficult to grow; thus, it has become a specialty fruit as opposed to other limes found int he supermarkets. In the late 1950s, a group of interested people began to produce these Mexican Limes in the Florida Keys, from where they derived their new name. Smaller than some other limes, they make a very tasty Key Lime Pie.
I like them in limeade with little sweetener, but they are very tart for most fruit drink enjoyers.
Lime Drink - Agua de limon
This is the limeade that I make all year long, and with fresh lime juice whenever I can find good limes at the market. Limeade is my favorite of all of the fruit based drinks that can be made. It can be added to a variety of iced teas in place of the usual lemon as well.
- 3/4 to 1 Cup lime juice
- 6 Cups spring water
- ½ cup sugar or a light-flavored honey (a heavy flavour overpowers the lime)
- Cracked ice
- In a jug or pitcher, combine the ingredients and stir until your sweetener is dissolved. Chill for an hour and serve.
- The limeade can be used right away, but chilling pronounces the flavours a bit more.
- This limeade can be used as the basis for alcoholic drinks as well, or can be added to a glass of soda water for a light taste with bubbles.
Hibiscus Flower Products
Hibiscus Drink - Agua de Jamaica
This is a flower-based tea that is quite good. Dried flowers can be purchased at a variety of markets or via the Internet these days, or grown in your back yard garden (be careful to avoid toxic sprays, though).
- 2 Cups dried Hibiscus flowers (use twice as many fresh)
- 6 Cups spring water
- ¾ cup sugar or honey
- Ice – cubes or crushed will do
- Rinse and drain the flowers in a large pasta colander. NOTE: the flowers and leaves can cause a deep stain that is difficult to remove, so take care and wear kitchen gloves.
- In a large pot on the stove top, bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Stir in the wet lowers and keep stirring for a full minute and make sure the mixture continues to boil – raise the heat if required.
- Remove the pot form the stove top and set aside on a protective towel on the counter to steep in a stain-proof bowl for two hours.
- Strain the mixture, pressing the leaves so all the juice squeezes out. Discard the flowers.
- If it is too tart for your taste, add more water and/or sugar to correct for tartness and sweetness.
- This drink is served cold, so cover and refrigerate before serving with ice cubes.
Orange Drink - Agua de naranja
This is a Mexican Orangeade that is quite good!
- 2 Cups orange juice
- 4.5 Cups spring water
- ½ cup sugar or a light-flavored honey
- Cracked ice
In a large jug or pitcher, combine all ingredients and stir until sugar is dissolved or honey is well incorporated.
Rice Drink - Agua de horchata
I first discovered this one as a small drink packet (ala Kool-Aid) in a local market and then learned to make it on my own. If you think rice is an odd drink, you’ll find the end result tasty. Rice is a staple crop and a little creativity goes a long way for mealtime and snack variety.
- 1 Cup white rice
- 8 Cups spring water
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Sugar or honey to taste
- Ice – crushed (cubes don’t provide a vehicle for the correct flavor)
- Wash the rice and discard the water, draining well.
- Soak the clean rice in boiled hot water overnight. The water should be just off the stove and it will cool and steep the rice overnight.
- Next day, drain the rice and pat dry with a towel.
- Grind the rice in a blender with 8 Cups Spring Water and 1 tsp cinnamon. Strain the drink through a small-holed sieve into a picture or half-gallon milk jug, glass jar, or pitcher.
- Pour in the evaporated milk and honey or sugar and stir well or shake the tightly-lidded container.
- Chill for at least 1 hour over crushed ice.
Tamarind Pods and Flowers
Tamarind Drink - Agua de tamarindo
The tamarind is becoming increasing popular as our US population of Hispanic peoples increases and found once only in specialty markets have migrated to the big box stores and supermarkets. Although carbonated tamarind soda is available in the 21stcentury, the traditional drink is noncarbonated and very good.
- Two dozen tamarind pods
- ½ gallon spring water
- 1 1/2 Cups sugar – or use honey, to taste
- Ice – cubes are fine for this one
- Peel all of the tamarind pods and remove veins that line the sides of the pods. Leave in all of the seeds for the flavour they provide.
- In medium-sized pot, place half the water (1 Quart) and bring it to the boil.
- As the water continues to boil, carefully pour the peeled and cleaned tamarind pods into the pot, guarding against burning yourself.
- Continue to boil the drink mixture 15 minutes. At this time, the pulp of the pods should be soft. If not, boil a bit longer and keep an eye in the consistency of the pods.
- When pods are softened, take the pot from the heat and set aside to cool enough to the point that you can touch the pods comfortably.
- Remove the seeds from the pulp and discard them to the compost pile.
- Next, empty the contents of the pot into a blender, add your sweetener and blend until liquid.
- Pour the drink through a strainer into a pitcher or jog and compost the pulp.
- Add the remaining 1 Quart water, mix briefly and chill at least one hour.
World Wide Beverages
Which is your favorite noncarbonated, natural beverage?
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