Agua fresca recipes create refreshing Mexican-style drinks to quench kids’ summer thirst
Few drinks offer as refreshing and delicious a way to quench your thirst on a summer day as a cold agua fresca.
The nonalcoholic drinks, rooted in Mexico — agua fresca is Spanish for “fresh water” — are typically made with puréed fruit. Traditionally the ingredients are ground by hand, but these days, most people opt to use a blender.
Fruit options are almost limitless. (Some aguas frescas, including horchata, use grains, such as rice.) If you can find it at your grocery store or farmers market, you’re in business: watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydews, strawberries, tamarind, peaches, pineapples, mango, papaya and cucumbers are popular choices.
While these drinks are wonderful right out of the blender, making them a few hours in advance allows the flavors to intensify and the drinks to get colder as they mellow in the refrigerator. If the drink starts to separate, just give it another quick pulse in the blender or stir with a spoon.
Pour in a glass, garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or basil, and you’re ready for a mouthful of cool breeze.
Where to buy aguas frescas
Don’t feel like making your own aguas frescas? You can find them at a number of Mile High Mexican restaurants. Here are four:
El Farolito, 1593 Peoria St., Aurora, 303-367-2738
El Taco Veloz, 400 Federal Blvd., 303-825-2882
Las Tortugas, 1549 W. Alameda Ave., 303-744-0767
Zapata’s, 740 Peoria St., Aurora, 303-340-0565
Agua Fresca recipes
Watermelon Agua Fresca
From allrecipes.com. Serves 8.
4 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
½ cup water
½ cup white sugar, or to taste
4 slices lime
24 fresh mint leaves
Purée the watermelon and water in a blender until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Cut the lime slices in half. Place half a lime slice into each of 8 glasses along with 3 mint leaves. Crush with a cocktail muddler, then fill each glass with ice. Pour in the watermelon juice and stir before serving.
Strawberry Agua Fresca
From myrecipes.com. Serves 8.
4 cups water
½ cup sugar
6 cups hulled strawberries
¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
Combine water and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place strawberries in a blender, processing until smooth. Combine the sugar mixture with the strawberry purée and lime juice. Stir well and serve.
Cucumber Agua Fresca
From Bon Appétit magazine. Serves 8.
4½ cups coarsely chopped, seeded and peeled cucumbers (about 4 medium), divided
4 cups cold water, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
½ cup-plus fresh lime juice, divided
1 pinch of salt
Combine 2¼ cups of the chopped cucumber, 2 cups of water, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup lime juice, salt and 1 cup ice cubes in a blender. Blend until sugar dissolves and mixture is smooth but slushy, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining cucumbers, 2 cups water, sugar, lime juice and 1 cup ice cubes. Fill 8 glasses with ice cubes and pour in the cucumber drink.
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower)
From mexicoinmykitchen.com. Makes 2 quarts. Hibiscus flowers are available in Latin grocery stores and most herb/spice shops.
1¼ cup dried jamaica/hibiscus flowers
3 cups water
4 cups of water to make 2 quarts of the final drink
½ cup sugar
Place the flowers in a small pot with 3 cups of water. Bring them to a boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat. Set aside for at least 4 hours to steep. (You can also do this overnight.) Strain the liquid into a pitcher and add the 4 cups of water and sugar. You can adjust the water if it tastes too tart. Stir, add ice cubes and let chill.