I grew up in Southern California, a land of constant sunshine. Evenings after school were spent outside playing in the warm sun, and growing up in a Mexican family, meant coming inside for an ice filled glass of whatever agua fresca my mom had decided to make. These sweet drinks are simply made with water, fruit, and a little sugar, depending on the sweetness of the fruit, and were a staple of my childhood. Nothing except water hit the spot in quite the same manner on a hot day. Agua frescas are still a nostalgic part of summer to this day that I love sharing with my family. They also make a great vehicle for cocktails. You can easily make a pitcher full of an aqua fresca cocktail—so refreshing and makes everyone happy.
Rose water is one of my favorite additions that I like to add to everything from iced tea to fruit salads and pairs especially well with citrusy cocktails. Just a bit goes a long way and can completely change the flavor of your drink. If this sounds strange, these botanical infusions have been used for a long time and can found in classics like the beloved Ramos Gin Fizz which has just a dash of orange blossom water.
Sparkling water is another staple at our house, we always kept bottles stocked cold in the fridge so they were ready at a moment’s notice. I recently bought a soda siphon, and now we are making our own. Soda waters and seltzers are a great way to lighten up a good drink while adding a bit of sparkle. I have been on a Cardamaro kick lately. Cardamaro is an amaro made using Moscato that is infused with cardoons, and boy, is it tasty! I went from drinking it on the rocks to adding soda water which reminded a bit of a grown up version of a cola.