Few drinks offer a refreshing and delicious way to quench your thirst on a summer day as a cold agua fresca (fresh water).
While these fruit 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 stir with a spoon.
Altough fruit options are almost limitless, here are some of our favorite drinks:
Agua de Sandia (Watermelon water)
Using sweet watermelon pieces in this skinny variety of agua fresca makes sugar an optional add-in, so it’s low-calorie and delicious.
- 4 cups of water
- 1 1/2 pounds of watermelon (rind removed), seeded and chopped into a 1-inch cube.
Purée the watermelon and water in a blender until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Agua de Piña (Pineapple water)
A nip of fresh mint rounds out the acidity of this refreshing chiller. Showcase it on your summer cook out menu as a skinny, booze-free substitute for a piña colada.
- 3 cups cubed fresh pineapple
- 2 cups cold water
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Purée the pineapple and water in a blender until smooth. Add sugar to taste. Add the chopped mint and stir before serving. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Agua de Pepino (Cucumber water)
This unique, low-calorie take on agua fresca will dance on your taste buds when you add tangy, sparkling water.
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 3/4 cups peeled English cucumber slices (about 1 medium cucumber)
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 large limes)
- 1 1/2 cups crushed ice
- 2 cups lime-flavored sparkling water, chilled
Blend the cucumber, sugar and water, add the lime, crushed ice and sparkling water. Stir before serving.
Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind Water)
Tamarind, also known as “Indian Date,” is a legume that’s native to Africa but grown throughout the world in tropical climates, including Latin America. The tart-tasting seed is the star of this popular fruit water drink from Mexico.
- 1 1/2 pounds of dried tamarind
- 1 gallon of water
- 1 cup of sugar
Place the peeled tamarind in the water, cover and simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Using the back of a large serving spoon or a potato masher, gently press on the cooked tamarind pods to break them up a bit. Discard the seeds (if you want) and sweeten the water with sugar for one delicious version of Agua de Tamarindo. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water)
The color and flavor of this water is similar to cranberry with a subtle tea flavor in the background. When it is served ice cold, the tea flavor is almost imperceptible. It is also loaded with Vitamin C, so it’s good for you too!
- 2 oz dried Jamaica Hibiscus flowers
- 3 cups boiling water
- 6 cups drinking water
- Sugar to taste
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and pour over hibiscus flowers. Let the flowers soak in the water for about 20 minutes. Pour the liquid and flowers through a strainer into a large pitcher. Add in the sugar and stir for 1-2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Pour in remaining water and taste for sweetness. Add more sugar or water if necessary.
Allow it to cool in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.
*Tip: add less water and more fruit and get fruit popsicles!
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