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Cucumber Agua Fresca

From Athens Locally Grown

<p>Agua fresca, which is Spanish for &#8220;fresh water,&#8221; is made from a base of sweetened water with various flavorful additions. This version, with cucumber, basil, and fresh mint, is both refreshing and restorative on a hot day. Try experimenting &#8212; For variations on this version, you can use various melons, berries, or herbs that you may have on hand; just throw them all in the blender. A splash of rum or vodka makes this a great before-dinner drink.</p>
Source: Better Homes and Gardens magazine, p. 200, September 2010 (Entered by Janice Matthews)
Serves: 6

4 medium cucumbers, peeled seeded, sliced (about 5 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 small bunch fresh mint (about 1/2 cup)
1 small bunch basil (about 1/2 cup)
1 lime, juiced
to taste sugar syup* or agave nectar
3 cups ice cubes
1 pinch salt

Step by Step Instructions
  1. In a blender container, combine cucumbers, water and salt. Cover and puree until smooth. (If you want it perfectly smooth, pour mixture through a sieve , but this is not essential.)
  2. Wash mint and basil, and remove any heavy stems. Add herbs to the blender with the cucumbers, plop in the ice cubes, and blend until slushy.
  3. Stir in lime juice, and sweeten to taste with agave nectar or sugar syrup.
  4. For a pretty presentation, add a cucumber spear to each glass when serving the drinks.
  5. *To make sugar syrup, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar; heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Cool. Pour into a jar and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Syrup can be used to sweeten a variety of different drinks.