aguas frescas + xixa
Did you ever have a crush on someone that you knew was “out of your league”? Well, my friends, this is how I feel about the food that comes out of the kitchen at Xixa (pronounced “shiksa”), Jason Marcus and Heather Heusers’ creative take on Mexican food in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
There are a lot of things I eat in restaurants, and then return home and replicate….maybe not exactly, but well enough. However, each small plate that comes out of the Xixa kitchen makes you stop and say “holy xixa, how did they make this?”
I’d like to tell you that I recreated the Grilled Carrots Elote, or the fantastic take on Beans and Rice, or even the melt in your mouth Carnitas. But I know my limits, and urge you to go there and experience the flavors of Xixa for yourself. I’m not one to embarrass myself….well, at least not in the kitchen.
In addition to the 20-30 seasonal small plates offered, Xixa has an impressive list of mezcals and tequilas for sipping and a seemingly endless wine list. On my most recent visit, I was delighted to find they have added a few aguas frescas to the bar menu. For those of you unfamiliar with aguas frescas (“fresh waters” in spanish), they are usually a blend of fruit, sugar and water to make a light, refreshing drink. As with everything else, Xixa kicks it up a notch, and was serving a unique, tangy Tomatillo-Lime agua fresca. Aguas frescas are also relatively easy to make….finally, something from Xixa that I might be able to recreate at home!
Feeling brilliant for coming up with a close second to their tomatillo-lime aqua fresca, I ventured out on my own and created a pineapple-serrano agua fresca. Now I have tart-n-tangy AND sweet-n-spicy recipe to recipes to share with you! In addition to being a refreshing beverage on a hot afternoon, both drinks are excellent with a splash of tequila added. In order to maintain the fresh flavors of the fruits, I would use a silver or “blanco” tequila, as they have the mildest flavor.
Tomatillo-Lime Agua Fresca (inspired by Xixa Restaurant)
1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
juice of 3 limes
2 cups water
1/4 – 1/3 cup agave syrup (depending upon how sweet you like your drinks)
silver tequila (optional)
In a blender (working in 2 batches if needed) puree tomatillos, lime and water. Pour into a pitcher through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids. You may need to use a spatula to press the pulp against the side of the strainer or stir a bit to unclog the solids from the strainer.
When finished, discard the pulp and stir agave syrup into the tomatillo water.
If not using right away, I store in a large mason jar in the fridge, up to 3 days. You can use any container with a lid. Serve over ice. If you are like me, you’ll also add a healthy splash of tequila!
Pineapple-Serrano Agua Fresca
1 very ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1 serrano chili, quartered….use as much as you like, I’m usually happy with about 1/2 of the chili.
2 cups water
1/4 cup agave syrup
silver tequila (optional)
In a blender (working in 2 batches if needed) puree the pineapple, 1 to 4 pieces of the chili and water. It is best to start with less chili, and add more if needed….you can add heat, but you can’t remove it! Pour into a pitcher through a fine mesh strainer to remove solids. You may need to use a spatula to press the pulp against the side of the strainer or stir a bit to unclog the solids from the strainer.
When finished draining, discard pulp and stir in agave syrup. Serve over ice, hopefully with a splash of tequila.
This too keeps, stored in a covered container, up to three days.
One Response to “aguas frescas + xixa”
Um…tequila is never optional (just so you know) … it’s pretty much an essential.