melon agua fresca

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Melon Agua Fresca [Melon Coolers]
Adapted from Gourmet, August 2009

Makes 8 drinks in 10-ounce glasses

1 (4-pound*) cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
1 1/2 cups water
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar (optional, I skipped this)
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 quart chilled club soda or seltzer

Garnish: lime wedges or melon slices

Purée melon in batches with water in a blender or food processor, however, if you use the latter be extra careful as the food processor does not excel in handling large amounts of liquid.

Transfer to a colander lined with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) or fine cheesecloth set over a deep bowl and let drain about one hour. Gather ends of towel and very gently squeeze any remaining juice from melon, then discard solids. Stir in lime juice, sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt and chill for another hour.

Divide among 8 (10-ounces) glasses and top off with club soda. Or vodka. Look, I know some of you are going to anyway; just don’t forget to share.

Do ahead: Drinks, without club soda, can be made 4 days ahead and chilled. Add soda just before serving.

* My cantaloupe weighed 2 pounds, my honeydew weighed 7 1/2. I suppose that perfect four-pound melon specimens exist, just certainly not where I shop!

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