LEMON AND ORANGE GRANIZADO
Among Altamiras’s most innovative recipes his lemon granizado is especially easy to recreate with its 18th-century flavours given by a cane sugar syrup and a chilled zesty lemon infusion. They combine to make a very modern summer cooler that you can also adapt to citrus fruits like lime or orange. In such details New Art’s iced drink recipes were quite different to those of Juan de la Mata, who gave sugar-heavy courtly formulas for aguas heladas de frutas or granizados in his beautifully illustrated 1747 confectionery recipe book. Snow and ice were close to hand in many sierras right around Spain, from inland Andalusia to Valencia, Catalonia, Castilla, Navarre and the Basque Country, and so, too, were salt for iced-drink churns and sugar for sweetening and creating the drinks’ semi-iced texture. Soft snow was supplied to Madrid’s court by horse and cart from sierras west of the city, but rural friaries, like San Cristóbal, often had their own pozos de nieve, deep pits of trodden snow and ice called snow wells. Records at Arantzazu in Navarre reveal that the friars collected snow locally with the help of neighbours long before they built ice-wells, mostly in the 17th century during a wave of construction coinciding with the mini-ice age, from 1550 to the 19th century, when temperatures dropped, rainfall increased and the altitude of snowfall lowered right around Spain. Published Spanish discussion of snow’s virtues, much of it written by doctors, also coincides with the first century of this mini ice-age, and it was probably medicinal thinking, still linked to the four humours, which explained Altamiras’s zesty infusion. If I’m making this granizada with oranges then I add a little orange flower water and a few drops of vinegar to evoke naranjas amargas, or Seville oranges, which were planted in friary patios.