Four Easy, Delicious Agua Fresca Recipes
Ahhhh – the sound of the first thirst-quenching sip of your new favorite summer beverage: agua fresca. You might be wondering “what is agua fresca?” An icy cold, juicy drink that’s refreshing and light, agua fresca is for everyone and takes less than fifteen minutes to prepare, which is why we usually whip up a batch of three (or more!). They’re made from natural, straightforward ingredients you may have on hand and are healthier than store-bought fruit juices! Since they’re low in added sugar and packed with fresh ingredients, aguas frescas are good for you and delicious. Simply blend ripe fruit together with water, a little sweetener, and fresh lime juice and there you have it! Serve them over ice, or dress them up for your next party by adding a splash of your favorite spirit.
What is Agua Fresca Made Of?
In the most basic sense, aguas frescas are made from fresh fruit (or veggies!), lime juice, water, a sweetener like white sugar or agave, and sometimes, fresh herbs like mint. They’re hydrating, non-alcoholic beverages that land somewhere between fruit juice and flavored water, making them perfect for adults and children alike! Originating in Mexico, aguas frescas are popular drinks sold at farmer's markets and by street vendors, bodegas, and taquerias all across Latin America and now, the United States. Aguas frescas are bright, fruity, and best made from peak-season produce for the most delicious flavor. One of the greatest things about this agua fresca recipe is that it’s more a guide than a recipe so feel free to make it your own! Some of our favorite fruits to use are peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon, mango, and pineapple. You can even use veggies such as cucumber, celery, and beet. Some agua fresca recipes use rice, seeds, and other plants: horchata – a rice and cinnamon beverage, flor de jamaica – a hibiscus flower tea, and agua de limon con chia or chia fresca, a lemonade-esque beverage with plumped up chia seeds for extra texture and nutrition. How will you make your aguas frescas?
Most Popular Agua Fresca Flavors
If you’re wondering about all the different types of agua fresca, you’ve come to the right place! Agua fresca flavors depend on the seasonal produce available, but the most popular across Mexico and the United States are:
Watermelon agua fresca (agua de sandia)
Pineapple agua fresca (agua de piña)
Melon agua fresca, with cantaloupe or cucumber (agua de pepino)
Hibiscus agua fresca (agua de jamaica)
Tamarind agua fresca (agua de tamarindo)
Strawberry agua fresca (agua de fresa)
Mango agua fresca (agua de mango)
How to Serve Aguas Frescas
On a scorching hot summer day, an agua fresca keeps the doctor away! Lining the streets of Mexico are tables set up with anywhere from 5-10 different brightly colored jugs of aguas frescas, ready to be slurped down. This extremely versatile drink appeals to all different palates – it’s refreshing enough to be served on its own but subtle enough to be served with meals. Make it carbonated by topping it off with sparkling water. For an adult version, add a splash of vodka or your favorite spirit (gin works well, too!). Shake it with ice for an extra cool treat, and add a slice of lime. Make it your own by swapping out mint for basil in the watermelon agua fresca or substituting the type of sweetener for your preferred choice (such as honey, agave, or even piloncillo).
Tips for Making The Most Delicious Aguas Frescas
Lucky for us, the blender does most of the work! You can use almost any fresh fruit and even fresh veggies to make your aguas frescas delicious!
Prep the Fruit! Using large fibrous fruit or fruit with cores requires extra prep. Make sure you cut them into smaller chunks, and remove any inedible parts such as skins and pits.
Blend! Place the water, sweetener, and your fresh fruit or veggies in the blender and pulverize until it’s completely combined.
Optional: Strain! For fruits that have small seeds, such as raspberries or blackberries, you might want to use a fine mesh strainer or sieve for extra smooth drinking.
Extra Flavors! Add in freshly squeezed lime juice and mint!
Garnish and Serve! Traditionally, aguas frescas are served in large jugs with a ladle, but a pitcher works just fine. We serve ours over ice, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint and a slice of lime.
Tools You’ll Need
Love Agua Fresca? Try Our Other Refreshing Summer Recipes
During the dog days of summer, cool off with some of our favorites: