Fruit juices in the US are often seen as either a kid’s drink or as a component for cocktails (cranberry g&t, I’ve got my eye on you), whereas other countries rely on fruit juice as an alternative to water — there is a fruit juice stand with all fruits in every color for each corner in Syria (or there was…) and India is also known for fruit juice vendors.
Agua fresca is a Mexican invention that also fully appreciates the cooling, refreshing power of fruit. It is a slightly sweet and super refreshing drink – perfect to cool off from the heat of the day or a spicy meal. Fortunately, aguas frescas are slowly gaining popularity in the States (Califia Farms recently released a line of aguas frescas including “Kiwi Cactus” that I’d love to try).
While agua fresca means “fresh water,” the main component is puréed fruit: watermelon, mango, tamarind, strawberries, etc. It’s easy to customize with your own favorite fruits, citrus, herbs, and even tonic or soda water or, yes, a splash of gin or tequila.
And the best part is that they are easy. Blend, strain (if you like), and drink.
They are traditionally served room temperature, but blueberry ice cubes make it more Fourth of July-festive and also give the drink a subtle blueberry flavor. Plus it’s fun for little kids to fish out the blueberries and make a big mess.
Holiday or not, this drink makes even the most regular spring or summer day seem a little more festive.
- 5 + 1/2 cups chopped watermelon
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1-3 tablespoons agave (depending on sweetness of melon)
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- mint or basil (optional)
- Combine 5 cups watermelon, water, lime juice and agave in a blender and purée until smooth. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain through to remove the watermelon pulp. Pour over the frozen blueberries, remaining 1/2 cup chopped watermelon, and a few leaves of basil or mint if desired. Serve at room temperature or slightly cooled.