We have been seeing agua fresca everywhere lately. It seems to be on every restaurant menu in all different forms. We have seen strawberry agua fresca, hibiscus agua fresca and even tamarindo agua fresca. So what exactly is it about this drink that is making everyone completely obsessed? We wanted to find out!
We took a deep dive into the world of agua fresca and we were pretty excited about what we found. Agua fresca is actually an amazingly delicious, refreshing drink! And, there are so many ways to make agua fresca that you can drink it every day and never grow tired of the tasty drink.
Let us tell you all about agua fresca and then you need to give our agua fresca recipe a try. It is easy to make and super easy to drink. It will probably be your favorite non alcoholic drink recipe for the rest of your life!
Agua fresca is very popular in Central America and Mexico. It is a non alcoholic drink that is made with fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, herbs or sometimes flowers. There are hundreds of ways to make agua fresca and each one has a unique, delicious flavor.
Agua fresca translates to mean “fresh water”. At its core, agua fresca is just flavored water. Sometimes the drink is just infused water while other times ingredients are blended into the water and then strained, making a smooth, sippable drink.
Agua fresca is typically enjoyed as a summertime treat. It is best served chilled and is super refreshing and flavorful. Of course, you can drink agua fresca all year long but if you are hot and need something cool, agua fresca is your answer.
Agua frescas are centuries old. The popular drink has likely been around since the pre-Columbian era. In fact, it is rooted in Aztec history with many Mexican legends referencing various types of agua fresca.
Around the 1940’s, agua fresca started to become popular all over the world. It exploded as an exciting street vendor drink that created a long lasting trend. Agua fresca was no longer only a drink you could find in Mexico or South America, it was something you could get in almost any Mexican influenced corner of the world.
People also discovered how easy it was to make agua fresca at home. All you really need is some fruit, some water and maybe a sweetener or spice if you’re so inclined! Bringing agua fresca into the modern day was bound to happen- it is too good to only be enjoyed in one corner of the world.
Agua fresca may have started with the Aztecs but it is still just as popular today. With so many different flavors of agua fresca, it is almost impossible to grow tired of this delicious drink!
Agua fresca is such a simple drink. No matter what type of agua fresca you are making, you will only need a few ingredients. Every recipe will differ a little bit but here is a look at ingredients you may want to use to make your perfect agua fresca recipe.
- Fresh fruit- Many agua fresca drinks are made with fresh fruit. Fruit agua fresca is the most common. You can use almost any kind of fresh fruit to make agua fresca and use our easy recipe below. Mango agua fresca, pineapple agua fresca and classic watermelon agua fresca are a few of the most common types to try. Be sure to use ripe, fresh fruit for the best flavor.
- Water- Agua fresca is “fresh water” so it makes sense that you will need water in the recipe! Water will help make the agua fresca the perfect consistency.
- Honey- Lots of agua fresca recipes need no sugar or sweetener at all. Many drinks are sweet enough without the additional honey. However, we love adding honey to make our agua fresca irresistible. Honey melts right into agua fresca, giving it a rich, sweet taste without the gritty texture of sugar. Skip the honey if the fruit you are using is super ripe.
- Lime Juice- A little bit of lime juice adds an amazing, tangy taste to any kind of agua fresca. It is also a classic, South American ingredient that is traditionally used in agua fresca. You can use lemon juice instead of lime juice for a more mild flavor.
- Spices- Some agua fresca have spices added to the liquid. Cinnamon, mint and nutmeg are just a few examples of the classic spices in agua fresca recipes.
Different types of agua fresca will have different ingredients. They will each also be made a little differently depending on what type of agua fresca is being created. Let’s dive into how to make different agua fresca at home.
Fruit agua fresca is super easy to make. In fact, it may be one of the easiest, most flavorful drinks we have ever tried! Most agua fresca can be made in about 5 minutes and enjoyed right away while others need to sit for a day or two, letting the flavors infuse into the water. The timing really depends on the type of agua fresca you are making.
As a general guide, fruit based agua fresca are ready to sip almost immediately. Fruit is naturally watery, so, Agua fresca uses that sweet water to make a perfect drink in a flash. When creating a nut or seed based agua fresca, you can expect to let the water sit overnight. This gives the liquids time to absorb all the flavors of the hard nuts. You will definitely want to get as much flavor as you can so waiting is worth it!
Here is a quick, general look at how to make fruit agua fresca at home:
- Add the water, fruit, honey and lime juice to a blender.
- Puree until very smooth. This will take at least 30 seconds of blending.
- Pour the puree through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the fruit pulp and keep the smooth, strained juice.
- Pour the juice into a large pitcher then serve the agua fresca over ice.
That is all you need to do to make perfect agua fresca at home. Sometimes the absolute best drinks are the easiest to make!
Take a look at the agua fresca recipe below and use it to make amazing watermelon agua fresca, strawberry agua fresca or even cucumber agua fresca. Any type of fruit will be delicious.
Horchata is a different type of agua fresca made with rice and cinnamon. It is a very popular type of agua fresca that has a whole different flavor when compared to fruit agua fresca. Agua fresca horchata does take a little longer to make but it is still pretty quick and easy.
Here is how to make horchata agua fresca:
- Add two quarts of water and two cinnamon sticks to a large pot.
- Stir in ½ cup of white rice and bring the mic to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. The rice will just be tender and not fully cooked.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks from the pot and discard.
- Pour the warm rice milk into a blender and puree until smooth.
- Add ½ cup of sugar to the blender and puree again.
- Pour the sweetened horchata through a fine mesh sieve. Discard any rice puree and pour the strained, smooth horchata mix into a large pitcher.
- Place the pitcher in the fridge and let it cool overnight or for at least 4 hours- you want it to be very cold!
- Serve the horchata over ice and enjoy for up to one week.
Horchata agua fresca is refreshing, flavorful and a very interesting type of agua fresca. It has a much richer, warm taste when compared to fruit agua fresca. You can check out our full recipe for agua de horchata and lots of recipe tips here.
Now onto our next favorite type of agua fresca- agua fresca jamaica!
Hibiscus agua fresca is also called jamaica agua fresca. You may be wondering if hibiscus and jamaica are the same. The answer is yes! Dried hibiscus flowers are typically called jamaica so hibiscus agua fresca and jamaica agua fresca are the same.
Making agua fresca with dried flowers is a little different than making fruit agua fresca recipes or horchata agua fresca. Here is how to make hibiscus agua fresca:
- Add 8 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar to a large pot. Bring to a boil.
- Remove the pot from the stove top and add 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers, 1 cinnamon stick, ½ lime and ½ inch of peeled, sliced ginger root.
- Cover the pot and let the mix sit for one hour.
- Pour the hibiscus tea through a fine mesh strainer and discard the flowers and spices.
- Pour the strained agua de jamaica into a pitcher then cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
- Serve the agua de jamaica over ice and enjoy!
Making hibiscus agua fresca is kind of like making hibiscus tea. The only difference is that agua fresca is served cold while tea is typically served warm. However that can be a gray area as we all know iced tea is cold… No matter what the temperature, we adore agua de jamaica!
While our recipe for agua fresca blends the fruit and then strains the mix, we know that some people prefer to make agua fresca just by letting fruit sit in water. Many may argue that this is the authentic way to make agua fresca. If you want to try this method, here is what you need to do:
- Pour eight cups of water into a large pitcher.
- Stir in ¼ cup of honey.
- Add two cups of chopped fruit.
- Cover the pitcher and place it in the fridge to chill overnight. The fruit will infuse the water with a subtle, delicious flavor.
- Pour the agua fresca into glasses. Let a few pieces of fruit go into each glass as well. Enjoy!
Which way to make agua fresca do you think is more authentic? Which method of making agua fresca sounds more delicious to you? This traditional method will give you a lighter agua fresca that has a subtle taste while our recipe below is more powerful and juice-like. You may want to make them both to test it out. See which you like the best and let us know your final vote in the comment section below!
A drink called “spa water” became a TikTok trend with many people obsessing over its delicious taste. But spa water is actually just agua fresca with a new name.
The fancy spa water that went viral on TikTok is just cucumber agua fresca. The online recipe contained fresh cucumber blended with water and sugar. The mix was strained and then enjoyed cold. Sounds exactly like agua fresca to us!
Actually, the ‘spa water’ post was quite controversial. People were angry at the author for claiming her “spa water” recipe was something new and invented. In fact, it was just cucumber agua fresca with a different name.
So, the answer to the mystery is that yes, spa water and agua fresca are exactly the same!! It is just a delicious drink no matter what you call it. Call it spa water if you’d like but just remember that agua fresca is centuries old and originated in South America ages ago. It is tasty, but a classic, not a new recipe.
We have given you a pretty thorough overview of agua fresca. However, we know you may still have more questions. We are here to answer!
Take a look at these FAQs and see if you can find your answers here. If you still are wondering about something specific, you can always leave your question in the comment section below. We will try to answer ASAP!
Agua fresca and regular juice may seem a lot alike. They are quite similar. There are a few differences between agua fresca and fruit juice.
- Agua fresca is lighter and more watery than juice.
- Fruit juice usually has preservatives or additives to make it last longer. Agua fresca has no preservatives and is “fresh water”.
- Most fruit juices are overly sweetened. Agua fresca can be made with honey or sugar but it isn’t always. Many times, the recipe relies on the natural sweetness of the fruit.
Now that we have evaluated agua fresca vs juice, let’s move on to the next comparison.
Agua frescas can be very healthy. Of course, it depends on how the drink is made. Let’s talk about fruit agua fresca first.
Since fruit agua frescas are made with just fruit, they are quite healthy. All fruits have beneficial vitamins and minerals that are essential for health. If you keep the fruit pulp in the agua fresca, it is even healthier. Fruit pulp has lots of fiber that will help keep your gut healthy and strong.
Grain based agua frescas, like horchata agua fresca that is made with rice, is also pretty healthy. Grains also have fiber that is important to your diet. Rice also contains lots of vitamin E and vitamin C. Horchata agua fresca is low in calories and low in fat. It will fill you up, keep you hydrated and help you feel refreshed. Sounds like a pretty great, all around drink!
If you want your agua fresca to be even healthier, you can skip the sweetener in the recipe. By removing the sugar or honey, you make the agua fresca even lower in calories and carbs.
The bottom line is yes, agua fresca is healthy. We sure do love this drink!
The most popular agua frescas are the fruit based drinks. They are the ones you will see at almost every taco stand, Mexican restaurant and bar. Here are a few flavors of agua fresca that are just about everywhere:
- Horchata (cinnamon rice water)
- Jamaica (hibiscus)
The possibilities with agua fresca are pretty much endless. If you have sweet fruit, you can make it into agua fresca!
Drinking an agua fresca can be good to help you lose weight. Agua frescas are low in calories, low in fat and have no artificial sweeteners. You can even make your agua frescas with no additional sweeteners, making it even lower in carbs.
Agua frescas are so flavorful that they will curb your cravings for other, unhealthy foods. If you are feeling hungry in between meals, an agua fresca can be a good snack replacement. While agua fresca may not necessarily be a diet drink, it can help you on your weight loss journey. When you grow tired of drinking plain water on your diet, give agua frescas a try and they just may help you reach your goals! And, with so many flavors to choose from, every day can be a new agua fresca day.
Agua fresca is best when enjoyed fairly fresh. It is made with fresh, sliced fruits and no preservatives so it will only keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. You want to be sure to drink your delicious, homemade agua fresca right away so that the fruit doesn’t go bad! But that shouldn’t be a problem- it is pretty easy to drink!
Freezing agua fresca is a fantastic way to make it last longer. It is also a good way to prep agua fresca in advance, getting it ready for another day. Here is how to freeze agua fresca:
- Make the agua fresca exactly as directed in the recipe.
- Pour the mix into an ice cube tray. You may need more than one tray.
- Freeze the agua fresca ice cubes.
- Anytime you would like a fresh agua fresca, pop a few of the ice cubes into a blender, add a splash of water, and blend until the ice cubes are completely broken up.
- Enjoy the frothy, frozen agua fresca!
You can also place the agua fresca ice cubes in a regular water glass and wait for them to thaw. You will need to stir up the thawed juice to get it nicely blended once again.
This is an easy question that we can definitely answer! Agua fresca translates to English to mean “fresh water”. This literal translation sure describes what the drink is. It is fresh water made from fruits or grains.
The translation is also a good indication of how agua fresca should be enjoyed- fresh! It is always best when enjoyed right after it is made. Of course, if you are using the infused fruit method, you will want to wait a day to drink your agua fresca but that is still pretty fresh!
There is a big debate around this question. Classic agua fresca is made by infusing whole fruits in water. The fruits are then poured into a glass along with the fresh, flavored water. However, our recipe is the quick, modern way to make agua fresca which involves blending the fruit into the water. We think it is then best strained to make the liquid smoother and more like water than a smoothie.
Of course, the decision is yours. To strain or not to strain- what will you do? How do you prefer your agua fresca?
Now that you are an agua fresca pro, what kind of agua fresca are you going to make first. We recommend making a new type of agua fresca every day. You could go on like this forever, making a new agua fresca for years! Just keep getting creative with your fruit blends and spice and nut blends. And, of course, let us know what you make! Enjoy.