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What Is Agua Fresca? (+ Recipes)

I LOVE agua fresca. What is agua fresca? Agua fresca means “fresh water” in Spanish.

What is agua fresca?

  • Agua fresca is cold, non-alcoholic Mexican beverage–traditionally made with blended fruit, lime, water, sugar, and ice.
  • There are countless more agua fresca recipes made with grains (like rice or oats), flowers, seeds (like chia), milk and other ingredients–more on that later.
  • Aguas frescas are typically sold by street vendors, convenience stores, restaurants, and juice bars.

I’ve been on a fruit kick and today, I’m writing all about my favorite agua fresca recipes–to get you excited to drink your fruits (and veggies) again. 

I love the process of slicing up fruit and blending it all up. My favorite agua fresca is Agua de Jamaica and Agua de Horchata!

What are the most popular aguas frescas?

The most popular aguas frescas are:

  • Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water)
  • Agua de Horchata (Rice Water)
  • Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind Water)
  • Agua de Sandia (Watermelon Water)
  • Agua de Piña (Pineapple Water)
  • Agua de Fresas (Strawberry Water)
  • Agua de Melon (Cantaloupe Water)
  • Agua de Pepino (Cucumber Water)

Whether they’re fruity or creamy or green–I say aguas frescas are the perfect drink on any day.

Aguas Frescas are popular in Mexico, some Latin American countries, and parts of the Southwest in the U.S.

How To Make Agua Fresca

I’m dishing up my best tips for making great aguas frescas, every time. Hint: I let the blender do most of the work!

  • I blend the ingredients until they are completely smooth. I like to use fresh fruit in the summer, and frozen fruit throughout the year.
  • Always strain fruits that have small seeds (like raspberries or blackberries) for a smoother agua fresca drink.
  • Feel free to add in extra flavors like mint.
  • Garnish over ice with a sprig of fresh mint, a lime wedge, or chunks of fruit.
  • Add veggies like fresh spinach. You can also add beets or celery to sneak in extra nutrients.
  • Add-ins are a plus—give your aguas frescas an extra boost with chia seeds, edible flowers, mint, or spices.
  • Serve in a tall glass over ice

I make the best aguas frescas by simply tossing my favorite fruits in a blender with water, lime, and stevia ( instead of sugar). I like to keep things simple.

What are the best fruits to make aguas frescas?

Each region in Mexico has aguas frescas variations using local fruits, like guavas, bananas, strawberries, mango, oranges, cucumber, pitaya fruit, plums… you get the idea. Aguas frescas traditionally can also include veggies like beets or celery!

I always strain berries with small seeds (such as strawberries, raspberries and blackberries) through a sieve to ensure that my aguas frescas are smooth.

I also like to double up fruit flavors such as mango/pineapple, strawberry/melon… You can really taste the rainbow with a fruity and agua fresca!

Below, I’ve compiled the very best aguas frescas recipes…

I’ve rounded up the most popular aguas frescas below! Each one follows a basic formula of fruit, water, lime, and sweetener.

Some recipes are tweaked with traditional aguas frescas ingredients–like oats, rice, herbs, and/or spices.

Let’s get blending!

1. Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water)

Agua de jamaica is one of the most popular aguas frescas drinks in Mexico. I love tart drinks, so agua de jamaica is my favorite!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4-1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or less quantity of honey or agave nectar)

Instructions:

  1. Boil water in a saucepan.
  2. Add hibiscus flowers and sugar.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Cool, strain, and chill.
  5. Serve over ice.

2. Agua de Horchata (Rice Water)

Up next is Agua de horchata is a sweet, creamy antidote to spicy salsas! Beat the heat with this delicious agua fresca recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the rice under cold water.
  2. Blend the rice, water, and cinnamon stick until smooth.
  3. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 3 hours.
  4. Strain the rice water into a pitcher.
  5. Stir in sugar and vanilla extract until dissolved.
  6. Chill and serve over ice, garnished with ground cinnamon. Enjoy!

3. Agua de Sandia (Watermelon Water)

This watermelon agua fresca recipe is made with fresh watermelon, fresh lime juice, and sugar, all blended together into a bright and tasty drink!

Related: 30 Most Popular Mexican Drinks

4. Agua de Fresa (Strawberry Water)

Aguas frescas come in unlimited varieties, but my all-time favorite is strawberry agua fresca. This fruity summertime recipe is the perfect blend of strawberries, lime, water, and sugar — that’s it!

5. Agua de Melon (Canteloupe Water)

Refreshing and sweet agua de melon is very popular throughout Mexico especially during the hot summer months.

Aguas frescas typically add sugar, but you can use less sugar when using a naturally sweet fruit like melon. I like to use stevia or splenda instead of sugar.

6. Agua de Mango (Mango Water)

This mango agua fresca recipe is so refreshing served over ice — garnish with mint to make it pop!

Liven it up with tequila or vodka for a boozy summertime agua fresca.

Related: 10 Blue Tequila Cocktails

7. Agua de Piña (Pineapple Water)

Quench your thirst with this water-based, fruity drink that gets a vitamin boost from fresh pineapple.

Sweeten with agave, sugar, or according to your taste.

8. Agua de Arándano (Blueberry Water)

Sweet blueberry pairs perfectly with cool and refreshing mint in this fabulous agua fresca.

Rim your class with tajin for a salty and spicy edge to each sip.

9. Agua de Limon con Chia (Lemon & Chia Seed Water)

Try this hydrating Mexican lemonade made with chia seeds, fresh lemon juice and water.

Serve over ice with a sprig of mint and fresh lemon wedges for a natural energy drink that’s so refreshing and nutritious.

10. Agua de Durazno (Peach Water)

Try this hydrating, and delicious peach agua fresca made with sweet peaches, water, lime juice & sweetener.

Serve over ice with a sprig of mint for a refreshing and nutritious drink! It’s healthier than store-bought peach juice — using juicy seasonal peaches!

11. Agua de Pepino (Cucumber Water)

Sweet fruits like melons pair perfectly with cool and refreshing cucumber in this agua fresca.

Rim your class with tajin spicy kick to each sip!

12. Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind Water)

Tamarind, water, lime, and sugar are blended until smooth to make agua de tamarindo.

Serve in a tall glass over ice to cool off and beat the heat.

13. Agua de Naranja (Orange Water)

Orange agua fresca is very easy to make.

Some oranges are sweeter than others (like navel oranges). Simply adjust the amount sweetener depending on the type of orange that you use.

14. Agua de Avena (Oatmeal Water)

Agua de Avena is a light, sweet drink made with oats, cinnamon, and brown sugar. It’s perfect to accompany your favorite spicy dish.

Aguas Frescas FAQs

What are the best fruits for aguas Frescas?

You can make aguas frescas with any  fruit imaginable. Just be sure to strain the seeds from blended berries like blackberries and strawberries. Sweet fruits like melons, and refreshing fruits like cucumbers are popular.

What meals do you drink aguas frescas with?

Aguas frescas are very popular during lunch. This refreshing drink is typically consumed in hot weather.

Are aguas frescas also called “spa water”?

Even though there are people on social media calling aguas frescas “spa water,” they are not the same drink. Agua frescas add lime juice, while “spa water” does not.

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