Agua fresca is more than just a beverage; it can be any number of different beverages. They are cultural touchstones representing a multitude of Mexico’s flavors, regions, and traditions.
All are refreshing, bright beverages perfect for almost any occasion, from a hot summer’s day to a festive celebration. Here is a list of recipes to easily make some of my favorites at home.
I grew up drinking these yummy aguas frescas from the traditional agua de limón that my mom made several days per week at dinner time, to the creamy agua de horchata that I bought when I was hanging out with friends in Mexican paleterias.
In Central Mexico they are also known as “preparados de fruta” in restaurants, so if you see that on the menu, you’ll know what that’s about.
These delicious drinks have been popular in Latin communities for decades, but they recently have been gaining more and more popularity throughout the general population in the United States. I see them more frequently now at supermarkets and restaurants, in addition to traditional sources like street vendors and Mexican markets.
I highly recommend trying them at home to play with your favorite flavors and adjust for the right amount of sweetness for your taste.
What is Agua Fresca?
Agua fresca is a traditional Mexican drink that combines natural ingredients such as fruit, flowers, vegetables, grains, cereals, herbs, and spices, with water (or sometimes with milk), and sugar or another type of sweetener, like maple syrup or agave nectar.
The result is a refreshing beverage that is light and perfect for quenching your thirst any day.
It literally translates from Spanish as “fresh water” or “cool water,” and some of the most popular agua fresca flavors include jamaica, made from an edible hibiscus flower, watermelon, lime, tamarind, and horchata.
Of course, there are as many combinations as your creativity inspires you to create.
How to Make Aguas Frescas?
Aguas frescas are easy to make and only require a few ingredients. For easier recipes, you need to blend the fresh fruit (frozen fruit works as well) with cold water or milk and sugar until smooth and then serve over ice.
For agua fresca made of grains, flowers, or cereals, you may need to soak some ingredients to extract the most flavor. But either way, they are delicious. Get your favorite fruit, and let’s try a few recipes!
8 Mexican Agua Fresca Recipes
1. Watermelon Agua Fresca (Agua de Sandía)
This classic agua fresca is perfect for a hot summer’s day. It’s also one of the easiest recipes as it only combines the fruit with water and a little bit of simple syrup. Add an extra layer to its flavor profile with some mint or fresh lime juice.
2. Mexican Lime (Agua de Limón)
This agua fresca recipe, a family favorite, uses the whole lime, rind and juice, for a sweet and tangy beverage with a very intense flavor. You will need a strainer for this one. Some families add chia seeds before serving. Decorate your glasses with lime wedges.
3. Guava (Agua de Guayaba)
Guava is a tropical fruit that offers a very fragrant, sweet flavor. Guavas have a lot of seeds, so you will need a strainer to remove them after blending.
My recipe has no added sugar and shows how to prepare it any day of the year because it uses ingredients straight from your pantry. It’s creamy and delicious. Enjoy!
5. Hibiscus Cooler (Agua de Jamaica)
Agua de jamaica is one of the most popular agua fresca drinks in Mexico. This tart, simple recipe is perfect for a hot day. It’s made with special, dried, edible hibiscus flowers and cane sugar, and its color is so striking that I love displaying it in a glass pitcher.
6. Quince (Agua de Membrillo)
This agua fresca is unique, crisp, and delicious with a delicate floral aroma. Take advantage of the Fall season when quince is available and try it out. You won’t be disappointed!
7. Strawberry (Agua de Fresa)
You just need 3 ingredients to prepare this refreshing agua fresca. Garnish with spearmint and strawberry slices.
8. Kiwi Fruit (Agua de Kiwi)
This agua fresca is sweet and tangy, with a smooth texture you will love. Use either fresh or frozen kiwis.
9. Strawberry Horchata
This agua fresca is sweet and creamy with a beautiful hint of cinnamon. In contrast to traditional horchata, this agua fresca needs no rice soaking as it’s prepared with rice flour, so it will be ready to enjoy in no time.
10. Coffee Horchata
Also known as Horchata Latte, this perfect drink combines two of my favorite flavors: coffee and horchata. The rice is soaked overnight with cinnamon, then blended in a high-powered blender and strained into a large pitcher. Coffee and condensed milk bring everything together. Such a treat!
Whether you prefer fruity and sweet flavors or tart and tangy ones, there is an agua fresca recipe for everyone. I hope this list inspires you to try making your own aguas frescas at home and experiment with different flavors and ingredients.
Tell us what is your favorite.