Soaring summer temps call for refreshments that will not only quench your thirst but fill your body with much-needed nutrients. This watermelon agua fresca recipe is just the solution for those days.
History of Agua Fresca
Agua fresca is a refreshment originating in Mexico. The name translating from Spanish to English as “fresh water.” According to Fany Gerson’s research found in the 2011 book “Paletas,” agua fresca can be traced back to the Aztecs. They would commonly mix fruit with their water while journeying from their farms to what is now Mexico City (formerly Tenochtitlan).
Agua fresca can now be found in restaurants and on street carts throughout Mexico, Central America, and The Caribbean. You’ll likely find a vendor or two selling agua frescas at your local farmers market in the United States. The lightly flavored, non-alcoholic drinks are usually fruit or flower based and may even include grains and seeds in their concoction.
Agua Fresca Health Benefits
Depending on what ingredients you use, agua fresca can be a nutritious drink. You can drink your way to a healthier heart and body with watermelon agua fresca. Watermelon is a high lycopene food which means it has cardiovascular health benefits. Watermelon also has flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids which all give it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits.
For optimum flavor and nutrition, use a ripe watermelon. Ripe watermelons have been shown to have a higher concentration of lycopene when they the flesh has fully turned from white to pink. Plus, a riper watermelon will be sweeter which reduces (or eliminates) the amount of sweetener needed in the agua fresca.
You can get creative with your agua fresca ingredients and flavor it with what is in season. Head to the farmers market and see what is ripe and ready for use in agua fresca. Some ingredient suggestions include:
Seeds and Grains
- Chia Seeds
- Melon Seeds
Flowers and Herbs
Agua frescas are perfect non-alcoholic party refreshments for both adults and kids. Grab a drink dispenser and fill it with your favorite agua fresca for guests to sip on. Try garnishing it with herbs to add a touch of flavor. By only making agua fresca with fresh fruits and herbs, you are creating a vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free refreshment.
Image of watermelon fresca via Shutterstock
- 4 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 tablespoons agave or pure maple syrup, optional
- Mint leaves to garnish
- Add watermelon and water to a blender. Blend the watermelon and water until completely smooth.
- Add sweetener, if desired, and blend again. Transfer to a pitcher. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, if pulp is undesired.
- Stir in mint leaves. Cover the pitcher and place in the refrigerator. Let chill for at least 1 hour, allowing the mint leaves to flavor the agua fresca and chill. Serve immediately or store up to two days.
More Agua Fresca Recipes
Image via The Bojon Gourmet
Mango Coco Agua Fresca with Ginger and Rum
This coco mango agua fresca will make you feel like you’re on a tropical getaway as you sip it. With electrolyte-filled coconut water and fresh mango, this drink is a healthier boozy treat.
Image via Little Spice Jar
Peach Agua Fresca
This peach agua fresca has a kick to it from fresh jalapenos. This recipe is also refined sugar-free, using honey to add a light touch of sweetness to balance out the jalapenos.
Image via Muy Delicious
Agua Fresca de Jamaica
Jamaica agua fresca gets its name from hibiscus flowers which are also known as flor de Jamaica. This agua fresca recipe uses dried hibiscus flowers to create a light refreshment similar to iced tea.
Image via Foodness Gracious
Cantaloupe Melon and Kiwi Fresca
Cantaloupe and kiwi pair perfectly to create this cooling melon agua fresca that’s colorful and thirst quenching. The kiwi adds a slightly tart twist to cantaloupe’s mild, sweet flavor.
Image via The Devil Wears Parsley
Spicy Pineapple Agua Fresca
This spicy pineapple agua fresca gets a serious kick from shishito peppers. Juicy pineapple will leave a cooling aftertaste that washes away the fieriness.
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Image of watermelon mint juice via Shutterstock