When limeños visit friends, they are usually greeted with either chicha morada or a sweet and syrupy refreshment called agua de manzana. This apple nectar is very popular, and people say it has relaxing qualities and keep your mind sharp and clear because of the apples. This is why it´s commonly known as “agua de loco” (crazy man´s water), which, of course, is a joke. We love it, funny name and all, and it´s one of our favorite beverages for any given day.
In Peru we don´t buy bottled juices for the house on a daily basis, because, as is the case with food too, we are used to preparing them from scratch, only with fresh fruits. That´s probably one of the reasons we have sturdy, healthy bodies in general. All those sweet and colorful fruits we buy every day at the market, fresh and cheap, and full of nutrients are the healthiest thing we can give our bodies. Bottled drinks are an occasional treat that we buy only on special occasions, for a BBQ, the beach, or a Sunday gathering.
It´s no surprise that our fondness of juices and fresh drinks of every kind has seen an outburst of many juguerías, (juice parlors) in the last decade, where customers can find exotic and refreshing juices year round. However, apple water is mostly found at homes, and there is nothing warmer and more welcoming than the aroma of apples and cinnamon perfuming the house.
To make this water we use creole apples, which are very tart and almost dissolve while cooking, but you can use whichever apples you like, adding a few tart ones to give the drink a good flavor. Cinnamon is a must. Instead of apples, you can also try passion fruit, pears, or star fruit for a thrilling variation.
- 2 lb apples, Granny Smith is perfect for this
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 whole allspice
- 4 cloves
- cup sugar (or to taste)
- 8 cups water
- *Chop the apples coarsely and put in a heavy saucepan with cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and water. Bring to a boil; turn the heat to medium, and cook, partly covered, until the apples are very tender, about 30 - 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool.
- *Fish out the spices and process apples and water in the blender until very smooth, or just strain pressing the solids, and pour on a container. Add sugar to taste, and refrigerate.