Top 5 Agua Fresca Recipe in 10 minutes (and How to Make Them Easily)

These unfiltered fruit juices are the ultimate refreshments, the best choice for a hot summer day. They taste amazing and can easily compete with ice cream. At least in my opinion.

What I like best about agua fresca is that I feel like I enjoy the whole fruit. Regular juices are filtered so they don’t contain the fiber anymore. Practically, you throw away a consistent part of the fruit and is such a pity.

Agua Fresca Final Recipe

What is agua fresca?

It is said that back in the 15th century, Aztec farmers were paddling to Mexico City which was named Tenochtitlan back then. They were carrying fresh and ripe fruit to mash and combine with water. Those were probably the first refreshing drinks ever known in that area. They even invented chocolate drink by mixing cocoa seeds with water and spices. Do you know that Aztecs believed that cocoa was a gift from Quetzalcoatl, their god? I guess that’s why chocolate tastes that good, it’s a divine thing.

Nowadays aguas fresca are very popular in Central America and especially Mexico. They’re usually made with fresh fruits, hibiscus flowers or tamarind pods. The addition of sugar and water make these beverages something to look for on a sunny day.

You will find a lot of aguas fresca flavors on the streets of Mexico City. You will recognize the vendors due to their carts. They either have a large plastic container with already made drinks or they hold fresh fruits and will juice them the moment you order. There are actually large chains which sell aguas fresca. You can find this type of trading shops in almost every Mexican town.

Unlike their relatives, the bottled drinks, these beverages hold a smaller amount of sugar which is beneficial for overall health. You will find them in two sizes, chica (small) or grande (large). In some places, they are available in another version too, por litro (by the liter).

Although most of the aguas fresca flavors are fruity, some of the most popular are made with rice water and hibiscus flowers.

  • The first one is called Horchata and you will be able to order it from any restaurant or taco stand. The rice water is flavored with cinnamon sticks. It is served cold so it is tasty and refreshing.
  • The second one is known by the name of Jamaica because it is made with “flor de Jamaica” (hibiscus flowers). The flowers are boiled and the liquid is mixed with water and sugar. Jamaica is also chilled before serving.
  • You may also find an agua fresca made from barley, known as cebada. It is not as famous as the previous two but still delicious. It has a creamier texture and may be a delightful alternative to the fruity options.
  • If you happen to be in Puerto Vallarta, you shouldn’t miss agua de tuba. Vendors sell it directly from tubas and that’s why it holds that name. Agua de tuba has two ingredients: apple vinegar and palm water. This combination might seem odd but the taste is great. It is served with pecans and chopped apples. And most important, it is ice cold.

But not everyone lives in Mexico. And you shouldn’t travel there to enjoy this drink. There are plenty of aguas fresca recipes you can create by yourself. I see this beverage as a combination between smoothies and juices. While it keeps all the great characteristics of fruits (like fibers, vitamins, mineral, etc), you make it more “drinkable” by adding water and sugar. Which doesn’t necessarily need to be sugar. You may replace it with honey, agave or maple syrup, stevia or any other sweetener you have in mind. Mandatory here is to be served cold.

The options are infinite. Basically, you can use about any fruit you like. The most common are cantaloupes, watermelons, mangos and strawberries. I would advise not to try berries because they have large seeds, you will need to run the juice through a sieve and it is possible to lose some of the fruit pulp as well.

Why should you love agua fresca?

It is an excellent way to hydrate yourself. Few years ago I had a problem with hydration. No matter how hard I was trying, I wasn’t able to drink as much water as I was supposed to. I used to set reminders, stick many post-it all over the house but nothing seemed to work. I was drinking a lot of water after my running sessions, after workouts or when hiking. But during the common days I was forgetting to do this. And found myself in the evening wondering how many glasses of water I’ve had that day. When I discovered aguas fresca recipe, everything changed. Because of the beautiful flavors, I began to sip these drinks all day long.

And I still do. I prepare these sweet treats almost every summer day. An agua fresca container lies in my fridge and I take it whenever I feel thirsty. I guess the most important thing is that I somehow made a habit of drinking more often and now my water intake is much larger. I love to prepare Mexican flavored water especially in summer because there is a wide variety of fresh fruits and I can change the flavor every day. It replaces the herbal teas I drink in winter.

You can still enjoy it on cold days but you’ll probably want it at room temperature. I’m not very fond of ice creams and cold drinks in the cold season. This doesn’t mean that everybody feels the same. So if you’d like something crisp on a frosty day, go ahead and make an aguas fresca recipe. The truth is it always tastes better directly taken out of the fridge.

A good tip would be to keep your serving glasses in the refrigerator too so you would serve the drink out of an icy recipient. The flavor will be more intense and the colors will seem brighter. I saw this trick when I first drank beer in Greece but definitely applies to agua fresca too.

How to make agua fresca?

Aguas fresca recipe is one of the easiest thing you could do in your kitchen. If you have a high-speed blender it will pretty much perform the work. The only thing you need to do is to rinse and chop the fruits. Throw them into the food processor, add some water, a sweetener of choice and turn on the machine. Blend for about 30 seconds and everything will be ready. This is the quick version. There is also the option of mix the fruits with honey, for example, and place them into the fridge for about one hour prior to blending with water. The flavors will combine and they will taste delicious.

To boost your Mexican flavored water, add some lime juice. It will give a kick to the drink.

You have the possibility of not using any sweetener at all. If the fruits are ripe and flavored, there will be enough sweetness in your agua fresca container.

I will tell you a few words on why it is crucial to rinse the fruits. Many people are aware that is extremely important to handle the meat safely but they consider that the risk of food poisoning from fruits and veggies is very low. The E. coli outbreak in 2011 from UK proved that this theory can be wrong. It is thought that soil stuck on potatoes and leeks may have been infected with Escherichia coli. This led to 250 cases of infection. Rinsing the fruits and vegetables well assists in removing the bacteria from the surface of the fruits. When you wash them, do it under running water and rub them. Removing the peel also helps in getting rid of bacteria. Another thing to consider is that you should keep your hands clean before and after handling raw fruits. Try to avoid using the same chopping board for raw fruits and raw meats.

Another advice I can give you is to use seasonal fruits. Although we may find strawberries all-year round, one must admit that you will find the sweetest, more-flavored berries in the beginning of the summer. Those small strawberries are filled with natural sugar and delicate aroma. This can also work if you are using peaches or cantaloupes. Even watermelon can be really honeyed.

How to make strawberry agua fresca?

Strawberry Agua Fresca

Choose the ripest strawberries. Rinse them well and cut into halves or quarters. Place them in a bowl, cover with honey and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Put the bowl in the fridge for one hour.

Transfer the sweetened berries to the blender. Pour the water and some lime juice. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Divide between serving glasses, garnish with mint leaves, add ice cubes and serve. If you have enough time, take the agua fresca container to the fridge for at least one hour before serving.

How to make agua fresca de sandia?

Agua fresca de sandia refers to the watermelon beverage. This recipe is easy to prepare as well. Remove the seeds from the watermelon and peel it. Cut into chunks. Place the pieces into the fridge so it gets very cold.

Add the melon, honey, lime juice and water into the blender and mix well. If you want to use sugar instead of honey, prepare a syrup. Bring some water to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until it dissolves completely. Remove from heat and set aside to cool down. Mix the sugar syrup with watermelon cubes, lime juice and water.

Agua Fresca Final Recipe

Top 5 Agua Fresca (and How to Make Them Easily)

These unfiltered fruit juices are the ultimate refreshments, the best choice for a hot summer day. They taste amazing and can easily compete with ice cream. At least in my opinion.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Agua, Drinks, Fresca
Calories: 34kcal

Equipment

  • high-speed blender

Ingredients

Strawberry Agua Fresca

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 large mint leaves

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup watermelon, deseeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2 large mint leaves

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup cantaluope cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • Juice from ½ lime

Mango Agua Fresca

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup mango, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Juice from ½ lime

Pineapple Agua Fresca

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Juice from ½ lime

Instructions

  • Place the fruit, water, lime juice and sweetener in the blender glass. Also add the mint leaves if using. You may also cover the fruits with sweetener, add the mint leaves and give it a stir. Place in the fridge for 1 hour. Transfer to the food processor after that.
  • Turn on the blender and puree until everything is smooth.
  • Taste the mixture. Add some extra lime juice and/or sweetness if needed.
  • Pulse again a few times.
  • Divide between serving glasses and serve immediately.

Notes

  • In case you don’t have time to keep the fruits in the fridge so they chill completely, place many ice cubes in the serving glasses.
  • Mint leaves may be added in the food processor and blended. You can also place them in the drinks and set aside for a couple of minutes so they release their flavor.
  • In the improbable event that you don’t drink everything you prepared, keep the agua fresca container in the fridge for maximum one day. It is highly recommended to serve the beverage immediately because after blending, fruits start to oxidize. However, you may refrigerate the flavored water for 24 hours. Staying in the fridge will help keep the nutritional properties for some time.
  • And last but not least, enjoy your drink! It will make a hot summer day look nicer and you will feel fresh and ready for whatever you need to do.

Nutrition

Calories: 34kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.4g | Protein: 0.5g | Fat: 0.2g
Tried this recipe?Mention @StoneFryingPans or tag #StoneFryingPans!

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About the author 

Jesse Spitzer

Jesse is a father of two and an aspiring chef. He has worked in the kitchen for over 7 years. He loves cooking and is passionate about finding ways to cook easier and more efficient. When he's not in the kitchen, Jesse can be found on on the golf course, reading a productivity book or sipping a glass of nice pinot.

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