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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Beverages

TIP OF THE DAY: Red, White & Blue Soft Drinks & Cocktails

red-white-blue-berries-herradura-230

Drink red, white and blue for July 4th. Photo
courtesy Herradura Tequila.

 

You can turn any clear drink into a July 4th cocktail or mocktail, as Herradura Tequila has done with its “Red, White & Blueberries” Cocktail.

Just start with a clear spirit or mixer, layer on other flavors (clear liqueurs, coconut water, etc.)

  • Club Soda
  • Mineral Water
  • Seven-Up/Lemon Lime Soda
  • Tonic Water
  • Gin, Tequila or Vodka
  •  
    RECIPE: TEQUILA RED, WHITE & BLUE

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1½ ounces silver/blanco tequila
  • 2½ ounces coconut water
  • ¼ ounce agave nectar
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: crushed ice
  •  
    For Garnish

  • Blueberries and raspberries
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE berries and crushed ice in the glass.

    2. COMBINE drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain into the glass.
     

    Find more cocktail recipes at Herradura.com.
     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Veri Soda, Organic & Low Calorie

    When “natural” isn’t good enough for you, go all the way. That’s what the makers of Veri Organic Soda did, creating a line of USDA certified organic and low-calorie soda (the first organic and low calorie line), sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic stevia.

    It’s very flavorful soda with modest calories, no artificial ingredients and no added chemicals.

    What you do get are bright and refreshing flavors, the four most popular: Cola, Ginger Ale, Lemon-Lime and Orange. At 60 calories per 12-ounce serving, they’re half the calories of conventional sodas.

    The brand uses a blend of organic cane sugar and organic stevia to deliver just the right amount of sweetness.

     

    veri-organic-cans-230

    Three of the four Veri flavors, just 60 calories a can. Photo courtesy Veri Soda Company.

     

    If you’re ready to swap out your standard soda or cocktail mixer for a healthier version, try Veri Soda. We enjoyed every flavor.

    The Veri Soda Company company is a Climate Neutral organization (net zero carbon footprint—more information) and committed to Non GMO ingredients.

    You can use the form on the company website to find a retailer near you.

    In the interim, head to Amazon.com for:

  • Veri Cola
  • Veri Lemon Lime
  • Veri Ginger Ale
  • Veri Orange
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Orange Blossom Water

    orange-blosssom-water-cortas-amz-230

    Orange blossom water is a by-product of
    distilling orange blossoms for oil. Look for
    the Cortas brand. Photo courtesy Cortas.

     

    June 27th is National Orange Blossom Day. The small, white, delicate blossoms, once a favorite flower in bridal bouquets, are used to make orange blossom water (also called orange flower water), a clear, aromatic by-product of the distillation of fresh bitter orange blossoms.

    While the distillate, orange blossom oil*, is used in perfumery, the orange blossom water, delicately scented like the flowers and not the fruit, is used as a calming personal and household fragrance. It is added to skin toners, bath water and spritzed from an aromatizer onto fabric and into the air (our grandmother sprayed it on sheets when ironing).

    And it’s used in foods and beverages, today’s focus. You can add orange blossom water to:

  • Baked goods and desserts: cakes and cookies, candies and confections, custards and puddings, scones…and also in crêpe or pancake batter. It pairs well with almond, citrus, cream and vanilla and cream, lemon and other citrus flavors vanilla.
  • Cocktails and beverages: in mineral water, the Ramos Gin Fizz, café blanc (recipe below) and orange blossom mint lemonade.
  • Middle Eastern, North African and Indian recipes (add some to couscous!).
  •  
    You can buy a bottle in some specialty food stores, Greek and Middle Eastern markets and online. The Cortas brand, from Lebanon, is a favorite among those who use a lot of orange blossom water.

     

    *Used to make perfume, the oil is called neroli oil. In 1680, Anne Marie Orsini, the Italian duchess of Bracciano and princess of Nerola, introduced to orange blossom perfume. She so loved the spicy aroma with sweet and flowery notes that she used the fragrance to perfume everything—her bath, her clothes, her household furnishings. The fragrance became named for her (but we found no explanation of why it’s called neroli, not nerola). The fragrance was also a favorite in the court of Elizabeth I of England.

     

    RECIPE: CAFÉ BLANC, LEBANESE HOT ORANGE BLOSSOM DRINK

    Café blanc, “white coffee” is a refreshing infusion made from boiling water, orange flower water and optional honey sweetener. Thanks to Victoria of BoisDeJasmin.com for her recipes with orange blossom water. There are links to others below, but we’ll start with this easy beverage recipe.

    “Café blanc is a bit of a misnomer because this Lebanese drink contains no coffee at all,” says Victoria. “It’s just hot water flavored with orange blossom, and it’s like sipping air perfumed with flowers. Mixed with water, orange blossom tastes not just floral, but also green, citrusy, spicy and warm. The first sip reveals a zesty freshness, but what lingers is the taste of honeyed petals.”

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon honey
  •  
    Preparation

     

    cafe-blanc-orange-blossom-drink-boisdejamin-230

    Hot orange blossom water: so simple to make, so refreshing. Photo courtesy Bois de Jasmin.

     
    1. ADD the orange blossom water to the boiling water, stir and taste. If you’d prefer the drink sweet, stir in the honey.

    2. FOR a cold drink, do the same with mineral water or lemonade.
     

    MORE WAYS TO USE ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER

    Fruit Desserts. Orange blossom pairs especially well with strawberries and apricots—cakes and tarts, compotes and jams, drinks. Sprinkle apricots with sugar and lemon juice and bake them in a 400°F/200°C oven until the sugar caramelizes and apricots soften. Drizzle with orange blossom water and serve hot or cold. Make a refreshing drink of apricot juice mixed with orange blossom water and sparkling water.

    Ice Cream. Soften a container of vanilla ice cream slightly, and add 4 teaspoons of orange blossom water per pint (or to taste). Mix well, chill and serve. If you make your own ice cream, add orange blossom water to the custard before freezing it.

    Puddings and Ice Cream. Anything creamy—custard, mousse, panna cotta, rice pudding–can be enhanced with orange blossom water gratefully. Victoria uses it to give an adult twist to rice pudding: Rice Pudding with Vanilla and Orange Blossom.

    White Chocolate. Mix orange blossom water into white chocolate-based sauces and desserts, or into cream to make a delicious tart filling. Whip heavy cream with sugar, add a few drops of orange blossom water, fill tart shells and top with fresh berries.

    Read the full article and the discussion threads for much more that you can do with orange blossom water.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Watermelon Mint Lemonade Cocktails, Slushies & More

    Thanks, Bolthouse, for the sample of Watermelon Mint Lemonade. This limited-edition summer cooler delivers a trifecta of flavors that just sing “Summer!”

    You’d be surprised how quickly the 52-ounce bottle disappeared.

    As good as it was, we felt the need to try it with fresh mint and fresh lemon juice. (The Bolthouse ingredients include water, watermelon juice concentrate, natural flavor, dragonfruit purée*, mint extract and beta carotene for color.)

    While we hurried out to buy more Bolthouse, we also purchased unminted watermelon lemonade from Whole Foods Market (365 Brand, organic and kosher certified) and infused it with fresh mint.

    Then, we created the more arduous from-scratch recipe below. (It’s arduous getting all the seeds out of the watermelon, even the “seedless” variety.)

    Learn more at Bolthouse.com.

     
    *The label says that the dragonfruit is for color, but dragongruit flesh is white with tiny black seeds! Here’s a photo. Maybe they use the peel?

       
    watermelon-Mint-Lemonade-bolthouse-230

    Get it while supplies last, or prepare to make your own. Photo courtesy Bolthouse.

     
    RECIPES WITH WATERMELON LEMONADE

    Perhaps the best thing we did with the two “replacement” bottles of watermelon lemonade was play with different ways to use them.

  • Cocktails: Just add gin, tequila or vodka.
  • Fruit Soup: For a refreshing dessert or snack, dice or slice any fresh fruits and place them in a mound in the center of a soup bowl. Pour the watermelon lemonade around the fruit. Garnish with optional chopped mint or basil.
  • Slushie: Add scoops of sorbet to a tall glass of watermelon lemonade. We couldn’t find watermelon sorbet, so we tried lemon, orange and raspberry. They all work.
  •  
    What would you do with watermelon lemonade?

     

    watermelon-mint-lemonade-bootranch-texas-230

    Rosy and refreshing: watermelon mint
    lemonade. Photo courtesy Boot Ranch | Texas.

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON MINT LEMONADE

    Ingredients For 16 Servings

  • 6 cups 1-inch cubes seedless watermelon (from a 5-pound melon)
  • 10 ounces lemon juice (WFM used bottled lemon juice, we squeezed fresh juice)
  • 6 cups water
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar†
  • Crushed ice
  • 1 large bunch mint
  • Garnishes: lemon wheels, mint sprigs, watermelon wedges
  •  
    †If the watermelon is very sweet, reduce the sugar. You can always add more.
     
    Preparation

    Our method of preparation is a departure from the original Whole Foods recipe. To get more mint flavor, we infuse the mint in the water before making the beverage.

     

    1. INFUSE mint in water. Reserve 20 sprigs for garnish, then crush the remaining mint and place in a pitcher with the water. Allow to infuse for a few hours or overnight.

    2. PURÉE watermelon and lemon juice in blender until smooth, working in batches as necessary.

    3. TRANSFER to a large container. Add water and sugar; stir until dissolved.

    4. SERVE: Pour over ice in tall glasses. Garnish with mint and thin slices of watermelon and/or lemon, as desired.

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Maple Water

    wahta-carton-background-230

    Be on the lookout for maple water, the
    newest maple product from Canada. Photo
    courtesy Wahta.

     

    Following the galloping success of coconut water, the next “tree water” to hit the market is maple water, made from the sap of the maple tree.

    Maple water is actually pure maple sap that is tapped in the spring—a fleeting opportunity that produces a fresh drink that is clear as water, yet full of natural nutrients. In the spring, the tree water has not yet thickened into the sap that will be boiled down for maple syrup later in the year (trivia: it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup!).

    Maple water is a healthy choice for hydration, with 47 essential vitamins and minerals including potassium, manganese and zinc; as well as amino acids, polyphenols (antioxidants) and phytohormones. These properties make it an excellent thirst quencher for athletes and others.

    Maple water is naturally low in sugar and has only 20 calories per serving size (8.45 ounces/250 ml), compared to an average of 50 calories for the same serving size of coconut water. It is all natural, fat and cholesterol free.

     

    Just as coconut water has the delicate flavor of coconut, maple water has the delicate flavor of maple.

    It has long been consumed by native tribes, but has been recently commercialized ato provide added revenue for maple syrup producers. Maple water has been available for two years in Canada, and is beginning to find its way into the U.S. (and to be produced by maple growers in the U.S.).

    To ensure authenticity and quality, The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers has implemented a program called NAPSI certification, for harvesting and bottling. The name is an acronym for:

  • Natural, produced by maple trees
  • Authentic, the same sap found in the trees themselves
  • Pure, no added agents or ingredients
  • Sterile, free of microorganisms
  • Integral, not from concentrate, unrefined and with all the original compounds provided by nature
  •  
    International producers of maple water are welcome to apply for certification.

     

    USES FOR MAPLE WATER

    Maple water can be enjoyed from the carton for thirst-quenching or rehydrating, as a simple drink with ice cubes.

    It is also becoming popular as an ingredient in recipes. When used in cooking, it gives foods a fine, delicately scented and slightly sweet flavor, and imparts a unique and distinctive character with a subtle hint of sweetness to cocktails, drinks and smoothies. Some suggestions:

  • To make coffee or tea
  • To prepare cocktails, mocktails and ice cubes
  • To poach meat, fish or seafood
  • To cook vegetables
  • To make smoothies or sorbets
  • To advantageously replace sweet fruit juices
  • To make sauces or deglaze
  • To make broths and soups
  •  
    Recipes are available on ILoveMaple.ca.

     

    carrot-puree-maple-water-ilovemaple.ca-230r

    Carrot purée made with maple water. Here’s the recipe. Photo courtesy ILoveMaple.ca.

     

    We received samples of a brand called Wahta Pure Maple Water. Wahta, which coincidentally sounds like “water,” is the word for the sugar maple tree in the language of Canada’s First Nations people, whose longtime use of it as a tonic inspired commercial production.

    Other Canadian brands include Maple 3, Ovivia and Seva. U.S. brands include Drink Water, Happy Tree and Vertical Water.

    If maple water takes off like coconut water has, retailers will have to hang additional shelves from the ceiling!

      

    Comments

    JULY 4th: Spicy Hot Lemonade Recipe

    red-hot-lemonade-fresno-melissas-230

    Jalapeño lemonade becomes red, white and
    blue with the addition of some blueberries.
    Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    It’s easy to make a special July 4th drink. Just “heat up” a pitcher of cold lemonade with bright red jalapeño slices. Toss in a few blueberries and you’ve got a red, white and blue theme.

    For less heat, remove the seeds and the white connective tissue.

    Don’t want any heat? Replace the jalapeño with bright red cherries.

    Start with a can of frozen lemonade, or make your own with fresh lemons (there’s a link to the recipe below).

  • For a different type of heat, substitute slices of fresh ginger for the jalapeño.
  • For a zero-calorie drink, use non-caloric sweetener.
  • For a low-glycemic drink, use agave nectar instead of sugar.
  • A shot of vodka or gin turns lemonade into a splendid cocktail.
  • You can also use this recipe to make fresh limeade, orangeade or grapefruitade.
  • After July 4th, varying the garnishes makes the recipe “new” each time.
  •  
    MORE LEMONADE IDEAS

    Try this homemade lemonade recipe. It’s so much better than store-bought.

    Or, take advantage of peach season to make this yummy peach lemonade recipe.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Flavored Seltzer

    homemade-raspberry-seltzer-oregonraspandblackcomm-230

    Homemade raspberry seltzer. Photo courtesy
    SpoonfulOfFlour.

     

    If you like flavored seltzer, here’s how to make an even more flavorful version of it, courtesy of the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Commission. The inspiration came from fruit grower Cheryl Ferguson of Plum Granny Farm in King, North Carolina.

    You can use fresh or frozen and leave the drink unsweetened, like commercial flavored seltzer. Or, add sugar to turn it into…soda pop.

    You can use different fruits; although tender berries dissolve the most easily into syrup.

    RECIPE: HOMEMADE FLAVORED SELTZER

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • Optional: 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (or other fruit)
  • Seltzer or club soda, chilled (club soda has added salt; see glossary below)
  • Optional: squeeze of lime or lemon juice
  •  

    Preparation

    1. BOIL water. If using sweetener, add the sugar and stir to dissolve.

    2. ADD raspberries and stir. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. Strain out seeds or purée as desired. Let cool (store in the fridge in a closed container).

    3. MAKE drink: Add 2-3 tablespoons of raspberry syrup to a glass (more if desired). Add cold seltzer water and optional lemon or lime juice. Stir gently and serve straight up, or over ice.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLUB SODA & SELTZER

    A Glossary Of Sparkling Waters

    Any effervescent water belongs to the category of carbonated water, also called soda water: water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, causing the water to become effervescent. The carbon dioxide can be natural, as in some spring waters and mineral waters, or can be added in the bottling process. (In fact, even some naturally carbonated waters are enhanced with more carbonation at the bottling plant.)

    Carbonated Water

    In the U.S., carbonated water was known as soda water until after World War II, due to the sodium salts it contained. While today we think of “soda” as a carbonated beverage, the word originally refers to a chemical salts, also called carbonate of soda (sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium monoxide). The salts were added as flavoring and acidity regulator, to mimic the taste of a natural mineral water.

    After the war, terms such as sparkling water and seltzer water gained favor.

     

    fruit-salad-soda-polarseltzer-230

    No time to make your own flavored seltzer? Just toss in fresh fruit. It will infuse very slightly. Photo courtesy Polar Seltzer.

     
    Except for sparkling mineral water, all carbonated water/soda water is made from municipal water supplies (tap water). Carbonated water was invented in Leeds, England in 1767 by British chemist Joseph Priestley, who discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide by suspending a bowl of water above a beer vat at a local brewery. Carbonated water changed the way people drank liquor, which had been neat, providing a “mixer” to dilute the alcohol.

    Club Soda

    Like the original carbonated water, club soda is enhanced with some sodium salts.

    Fizzy Water

    Another term for carbonated water.

    Seltzer or Seltzer Water

    Seltzer is carbonated water with no sodium salts added. The term derives from the town of Selters in central Germany, which is renowned for its mineral springs. The naturally carbonated spring water—which contains naturally dissolved salts—has been commercially bottled and shipped around the world since at least the 18th century. When seltzer is made by carbonating tap water, some salts are added for the slightest hint of flavor. And that’s the difference between seltzer and club soda: Club soda is salt-free.

    Sparkling Water

    Another term for carbonated water/soda water. It can also refer to sparkling mineral water, which is pumped from underground aquifers. Note that not all sparkling mineral waters are naturally effervescent. Many are actually carbonated from still mineral water. Some are lightly carbonated by nature, but have extra carbonation added at bottling to meet consumer preferences.

    Two Cents Plain

    Another word for soda water, coined during the Great Depression, when plain soda water was the cheapest drink at the soda fountain.

    MORE TYPES OF WATER

    Check out our Water Glossary for the different types of water, including the difference between mineral water and spring water.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cucumber Water, Cucumber Vodka

    cucumber-herb-water-230

    No more bland water at the table. Photo by
    Maria Bacarella | IST.

     

    When warm weather brings a bounty of fresh produce, we want to fresh produce it everywhere—including in our water glass. While any fruit or vegetable can be infused into a glass or pitcher of water, we especially enjoy cucumber and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary.

    The simplest addition of a slice of cucumber and an herb sprig turns a nondescript glass of water into a special drink. You can layer on flavors as you like: a slice of lemon, lime or apple, for example.
     
    HOW TO MAKE CUCUMBER WATER

    1. ADD half a cucumber, cut into 1/8″ slices, to a two-quart pitcher. If it’s a waxed cucumber, use a carrot peeler to remove most of the waxy peel before slicing, but leave some decorative “stripes” by peeling the cucumber vertically, leaving long strips of peel at 1″ intervals.

    Variation: Look closely at the photo and you’ll note that both slices and strips of cucumber were used. Although it’s easier to eat the slices, the combination of slices and strips adds visual interest.

     
    2. CUT a lemon and/or lime into 1/8″ slices, removing the seeds. Add to the pitcher, along with sprigs of fresh rosemary or other favorite herb.

    3. FILL the pitcher with water. Refrigerate for 4 hours or more to chill and let the flavors infuse. When you’ve drunk up all the water, you can refill the pitcher and re-infuse the same cucumber and lemons, although you’ll get a lighter infusion.

     

    CUCUMBER VODKA

    Summer also reminds us that it’s time to break out the cucumber vodka. It’s a trending (and welcome) flavor, produced by organic distillers such as Crop Harvest, Prairie, Rain and Square One, as well as conventional brand such as Effen, Pearl and Skinnygirl.

    (Note to gin lovers: Gordon’s makes Crisp Cucumber Gin, but you may have to get someone to bring it back from England. We haven’t been able to find it in the U.S.)

    To make flavored vodka, natural flavor essence is added to the distilled vodka (which can be made from a variety of grains, including corn, rye and winter wheat). The fresh aroma of cucumber is a result of the same process used to capture the aromatics of flowers and other plants in natural fragrances.

    We love what the essence of crisp, cool cucumber does to vodka. Cucumber vodka gives a contemporary spin to familiar cocktails like the Bloody Mary, Gimlet, Tom Collins and Vodka Tonic. We drink Square One cucumber vodka straight up (and our food bucket list includes arranging a taste test with the other brands).
     
    CUCUMBER VODKA COCKTAIL RECIPES

    These recipes are courtesy Prairie Organic Spirits.

    Garden Cocktail

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces cucumber vodka
  • 2 one-inch cubes seedless watermelon
  • 1 diced lime (bitter ends removed)
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 cucumber slice
  • Salt
  •  

    bottle-cocktail-squareone-230

    Cucumber adds a crisp touch to vodka. Photo courtesy SquareOne.

     

    Preparation

    1. LIGHTLY salt the rim of the glass.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients in a shaker. Shake with ice and pour into a rock glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

     
    Cucumber Mary

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces cucumber vodka
  • ½ cup tomato juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 thick cucumber slice, notched
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE vodka, tomato juice, lemon, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a shaker.

    2. SHAKE with ice and pour mixture (including ice) into a highball glass. Add cucumber to the rim of glass and serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Agua Fresca, The Latin American Cooler

    lychee-cooler-230

    A lychee agua fresca, or cooler. Photo
    courtesy Melissas.com.

     

    For summer entertaining, try a menu of aguas frescas.

    In Spanish, agua fresca means fresh water. In culinary terms, it refers to a variety of refreshing cold drinks that are sold by street vendors and at cafés throughout Latin America. They’re also available bottled in food stores, and are made from scratch at home.

    A traditional agua fresca is an infused, sweetened water, flavored with fruits and/or vegetables—often a more complex layering of flavors than lemonade and limeade. It is nonalcoholic and noncarbonated—in the U.S., it is called a cooler.

    The recipes can include a combination of fruits or veggies, flowers, herbs and/or spices, cereals, seeds, even almond flour. Agua de horchata, a very popular recipe, is made of ground raw rice spiced with cinnamon.

    Other popular flavors include:

  • Fruits: banana, cantaloupe, guava, mango, orange, papaya, passionfruit, pineapple, strawberry, watermelon
  • Sour fruits: cucumber, lemon, lime, tamarind
  • Flowers and herbs: hibiscus, sorrel
  • Grains, nuts and seeds: alfalfa, almond flour, barley, chía (often blended with vegetables), oats, rice
  •  

    Here are some recipes to start you off:

    RECIPE: MANGO OR WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA

    Ingredients

  • Very ripe mango or seedless watermelon
  • Water
  • Sugar, agave or other sweetener
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Optional garnish: lime wedge, berries or other fruit
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PURÉE equal parts mango/watermelon and water. ADD sweetener and lime juice to taste.

    2. CHILL and serve over ice with optional garnish.

     

    RECIPE: PINEAPPLE AGUA FRESCA

    Ingredients

  • Ripe pineapple
  • Coconut water
  • Sugar, agave or other sweetener
  • Chopped lemongrass
  • Optional garnish: lemongrass stalk
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PEEL and core pineapple(s). Purée equal parts pineapple and coconut water, with lemongrass to taste. Add sweetener to taste.

    2. CHILL and serve over ice with optional garnish.

    RECIPE: LYCHEE AGUA FRESCA

    Ingredients

  • Lychees
  • Water
  • Sugar, agave or other sweetener
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Optional garnish: whole lychee
  •  
    Preparation

     

    watermelon-cooler-230

    Watermelon agua fresca, a watermelon cooler. Photo courtesy Melissas.com.

     
    1. REMOVE seed from lychees. Purée lychee fruit. Strain and add water. Add sweetener and lime juice to taste.

    2. CHILL and serve over ice with optional garnish.
     
    AGUA DE HORCHATA

    Horchata (pronounced or-CHA-tah) is a drink that was introduced to the Caribbean and Latin America via Spain, and different versions were created in almost every country. But the drink has its origin in ancient Egypt.

    Chufa, or tiger nut (Cyperaceae cyperus esculentus) is one of the earliest domesticated crops and was widely grown in Egypt and Sudan. They are not nuts per se, but pea-size, tuberous roots of a plant of the sedge family. The crop was brought to Spain during the rein of the Moorish kings (700 B.C.E. to 1200 C.E.)

    In Mexico, rice became the base of choice. If you’re curious about a drink made of ground raw rice, look in a Latin market for bottled horchata, or make your own with this recipe:

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice, rinsed
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican, for garnish
  • Optional garnish: cinnamon stick
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rice and cinnamon stick in a blender with 4 cups of water; pulse to coarsely grind. Transfer to a large bowl and add another 4 cups water. Soak at room temperature for 3 hours.

    2. PURÉE the rice mixture in a blender in batches, until smooth. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine sieve into a pitcher. Mix in the sugar; chill.

    3. TO SERVE: Stir the horchata well and pour into ice-filled glasses. Garnish with a dusting of ground cinnamon and an optional cinnamon stick.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Coconut Water Ice Cubes

    coconut-water-DeasySetiawatiWidjaja-DRM-230

    Coconut water with coconut water ice cubes
    and a lychee garnish. Photo © Deasy
    Setiawati Widjaja | DRM.

     

    If you enjoy coconut water—or the flavor of coconut in general—you can add a subtle touch of it to your favorite beverages via coconut water ice cubes.

    Use them in juice, iced tea, ginger ale and lemon-lime sodas (and of course, in coconut water itself). It’s an easy way to add a little something-something while cooling your drink.

    Or, try them in a cocktail, like this one, which builds on the ingredients of a Mango Margarita:

    Ingredients

  • 3 ounces blanco tequila
  • 1 oz clear orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh mango
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a blender. Cover; blend until smooth.

    2. ADD coconut water ice cubes; blend until smooth. Pour into glasses; garnish with mango or lime slices. Makes 4 drinks.

     
    TO MAKE COCONUT ICE CUBES

    Simply pour 1-1/2 cups of coconut water into standard ice cube tray and freeze.

    For extra fun, buy some silicone ice cube trays in fun summer shapes, and freeze cubes into flowers, stars, suns, trees and sea life.
     
    MORE ABOUT COCONUT WATER

  • Coconut Water Overview
  • Types Of Coconut Water
  • Coconut Water Health Benefits
  • Coconut Water Nutrition
  • Reviews Of Coconut Water Brands
  •  
    MORE TASTY ICE CUBES

    Make tea ice cubes, coffee ice cubes, lemonade ice cubes, etc.

    When they melt, they don’t dilute your drink.

     
      

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