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Agua Frescas: The Ultimate Refresher

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September 17, 2012

We have a local market corner in our city that has some of the best taco stands outside of Mexico. One of my favorite items on the menu is the Agua Fresca. Agua Frescas are fresh fruit drinks that are incredibly popular in Mexico and Latin America. You can find them being sold by street food vendors and the name literally translates to “fresh water.”  This is the perfect name for the drink because it is fresh and incredibly refreshing.

Fortunately, Agua Frescas are incredibly easy to make at home so you don’t have to venture out to your street vendor to enjoy one of these amazing drinks. Agua Fresca is made with fresh fruit, water, sugar, and sometimes herbs or spices.  They can be made in literally any combination you would like – just use this simple base and you will be enjoying your Fresca in no time. Check out the recipes below:

Agua Frescas Base Recipe

  • 3 cups chopped fruit (your choice)
  • 6 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar

Puree the fruit in a blender and pour the fruit through cheesecloth or a sieve to strain out any seeds (only if needed). Pour fruit blend into a pitcher, adding water and sugar and stir until dissolved. Place in refrigerator until chilled and serve. It is literally that simple. If you have no patience (like me) and can’t wait for the drink to chill, just pour the mixture over ice and it is still incredibly tasty.

You can use any fruit that you like to make your Aqua Fresca but here are some of my favorite fruits and fruit combinations:

  • Watermelon
  • Watermelon-Lime
  • Strawberry
  • Strawberry-Lime
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cantaloupe-Basil
  • Cucumber-Lime
  • Pineapple
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Honeydew Melon-Basil

If the combination includes herbs or spices just add to taste.

Though most Agua Frescas are made from fruit, they can also be made from a variety of grains. The most popular being the Horchata. Horchata will take a little more time and effort to make, but will well be worth the effort. My children love Horchata.

Horchata Recipe

  • 1 cup white rice (long grain)
  • 2 cups almonds (preferably skinless)
  • 8 cups of water
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon

Use a coffee grinder (or rice grinder if you own one) to grind the rice and almonds until very fine. Add 4 cups of water to the ground mixture and let sit overnight. The next day add the remaining water and 1-2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon to the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth.

Strain the mixture with a metal strainer or piece of cheesecloth. Then strain again using two pieces of cheesecloth. Chill until very cold or serve over ice and enjoy.

Have you enjoyed an Agua Frescas? If so, what is your favorite flavor?

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