Agua de Tamarindo is a favorite drink in Mexico. Tamarind offers this amazing blend of sweet and sour so how can it not be a fav? Tamarind pods may look a little funky but if there is ever a time to not judge a book by its cover, tamarind eating is the time. A little sweet, a little tart. Yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.
So there are these brightly colored (neon) Mexican sodas named “Jarritos”. They usually come in tropical flavors like pineapple, mandarin and lime but my favorite happens to be tamarindo. I prefer it to just your regular agua de tamarindo because the carbonations cuts through the sweetness just right (and fizzy water always makes any drink better) creating a more refreshing drink. So why not make a faux Jarritos tamarind soda? Well, can’t think of a reason not to. So here we go:
WHAT YOU NEED:
– ½ pound of tamarind pods;
– 1 quart of water;
– 1/3 cup of sweetener (sugar, maple syrup, honey, etc.);
-2 cups of club soda.
WHAT YOU DO:
Peel and remove the strings off the tamarind pods (i.e. remove the bark-like shell and the thick fibers that run along the pulpy pods). Avoid eating all the tamarind pods (very important step). Toss pods in a large stockpot and add the water.
Place on medium heat and cook for about 30 minutes or until tamarind is soft. Let cool for 10 minutes. Place strainer over a pitcher and pour about a cup of liquid into the pitcher. Add sweetener and stir to incorporate. Place strainer back over pitcher and scoop pods and liquid into the strainer. Using the back of a spoon smash and smush (sophisticated culinary terms) the pulp as much as possible.
The objective is to get the hard seeds as clean as can be. Continue until all the tamarindy goodness has been strained. Place pitcher in refrigerator to cool down. Right before serving add club soda and give it one last swirl. Serve over ice cubes if desired.