Peach/mint infusion in the making.
A couple of summers ago I got into making fruit bounce, which is liquor infused with fresh fruit and sugar over the course of about 3 months. It was a fun experiment. I made all kinds of bounce… blackberry, cherry, apricot, peach, plum, cinnamon, and a special batch of cranberry for Thanksgiving. I received apricots and peaches from friends’ backyard trees and gave them back bounce a few months later.
This year we had a hard late frost and all the stone fruits in our yard and even across the valley at Blum Ranch failed. The peach and plum were about the best. I could go buy fruit and do it, but really who needs all that booze? I shared it at camp outs because it goes down easily and it seemed best to share it when no one had to drive home! Not to say I won’t make it again, but I think the days of the little boozery in the corner of the pantry are over.
So now I’m playing around with fresh flavored waters. Not exactly aguas frescas, as those seem to always include sugar, and part of the goal for me with this is to have something refreshing on hand without all the sugar or caffeine. More and more of my friends are trying to avoid these things.
One of my favorites is cucumber water, which I’ve had at The Granville restaurant. It’s pretty easy. I put one cucumber chunked up in a quart of water in the fridge overnight and it was great…added water to it as I drank about half at a time and it kept infusing anew.
This morning I was making a batch of white gazpacho (cold cucumber soup–it’s summer!) and I put a few long slivers of cucumber made with a peeler into a glass of water and it was flavored in maybe twenty minutes.
This is a glass of watermelon/basil water. The nice thing about watermelon is that you can just squeeze it for a quick flavor boost. The basil takes longer.
I did a nectarine water a few days ago. I was able to keep adding water to it as I drank from it for about 2 1/2 days and then shook it really hard and the nectarine came apart, but didn’t have a hint of decayed taste.
You can look up recipes for cucumber water or fruit waters online, but it seems that one piece of fruit or cucumber per quart of water works. I’m trying the peach/mint in two quarts this time. It’s all to taste, and you can always add more.
I drink a lot of water and I like it, but it’s nice to have something a little special at the end of a long hot day when you finally have a chance to sit down and say, watch the paint dry.