Head south of the border and you'll find something more refreshing than plain tap water. Translated as "cool waters", agua fresca is a non-alcoholic fresh fruit drink is served in Mexico along with countries in South and Central America. You can usually find the beverage sold by street vendors or in restaurants and bodegas in large jars. The aguas frescas are then ladled out and poured into glasses.
Unlike soft drinks which are carbonated, this fresh water beverage is still and is mixed up in minutes. Most recipes use a blender to break down the fruits which is then strained through a fine mesh sieve to discard any fibers or strings.
The prep time for these super refreshing drinks are kept to a minimum, making them perfect for parties. Just serve them up in a large pitcher along with some fun and festive glasses and you've got yourself a fiesta.
Want to make your own? Here's three of our favorite agua fresca recipes.
1. Strawberry Lime Agua Fresca
Sweet and sour, the addition of lime juice makes strawberries sing in this non-alcoholic beverage. To make this quick agua fresca, place chilled water, strawberries and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
While you can enjoy this drink as is, we suggest straining out the seeds and pulp using a fine mesh strainer. The key is to constantly stir the drink in the strainer to release all of the liquid. Serve topped with fresh strawberries and a wedge of lime.
2. Salted Watermelon Agua Fresca
When I was a kid I always grabbed the salt shaker whenever I gobbled down a slice of watermelon. Today we decided to kick it up a notch and add a sprinkling of chili powder into the mix...and we were not disappointed.
Run a cut lime wedge along the edge of the glass and dip into a plate of sea salt. It'll take all your willpower not to lick it off in one swift motion.
3. Cucumber Pineapple Agua Fresca
A bit quirky, this cucumber pineapple agua fresca is a beautiful green with speckles of mint leaves thrown in the mix. In a blender add pineapple, chopped cucumber (no need to peel), water, 1/2 cup sugar and mint.
I was barely able to add everything in my blender so I suggest you blend it in batches. Once smooth, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and pour into chilled glasses or serve in a large pitcher.