Strawberry agua fresca is a wonderfully bright, light and refreshing drink. It's a delicious Mexican way to beat the heat, and you'll soon see why it's such a favorite. Plus, it's so easy to make.
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On my various visits to Mexico, I was always a big fan of some of the drinks and treats designed for hot weather that many street vendors and shops had on offer. In many regions, it can get pretty hot and thankfully, various traditional treats like paletas (ice pops), ice cream and drinks have evolved to help.
What I particularly liked was most of them made use of the many tropical fruits grown in the region and were all natural ingredients. Agua frescas are a perfect example.
What are agua frescas?
"Agua fresca" literally translates as "fresh water" and the name applies to a group of drinks where water is blended with fruits or sometimes other ingredients like seeds, nuts or flowers.
The exact origins are a little unclear, but some believe they were first made by the Aztec in the Mexico City region, where they are still popular. These days you'll find them all over the country and they are becoming better known elsewhere. And for good reason.
The ingredients are traditionally all natural and very simple. Many are just fruit and water, with a little sugar as needed. You'll also find some made from seeds and flowers. Some add a little extra lime or herbs for an additional fresh flavor.
Some popular fruit flavors include watermelon agua fresca, papaya, guava and pineapple. Non-fruit favorites include agua de jamaica from hibiscus flowers, agua de tamarindo from tamarind seeds and horchata, made with rice.
A rough guide to making any flavor at home
For many fruit versions, you simply blend some diced fruit up with water and a little sugar, as needed. As a rough guide, use one part water to one part fruit by volume as a starting point. This works well for juicier fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe and mango.
For fruits that have more pulp and less liquid, you may want to increase the water to two or even 3 parts, such as for apple. Until you know what works best for the specific fruit and your taste, if you start with one part water, you can then adjust from there.
In terms of sweetener, 1tbsp sugar per 1 cup fruit is a good guide to start with. The sweetness is very much to taste, but also depends on the sweetness of the fruit you are using. A squeeze of lime helps add a little extra freshness to many versions, but it may not suit all and it depends on your taste.
You can then choose whether you strain the mixture or not. If you are looking at the health factor, then the pulp is what contains the fiber so it's worth leaving. But some is to taste, and depends how good your blender is at making it smooth in the first place.
For non-fruit versions, obviously these guides don't quite apply so it is worth starting with a recipe and adjusting to your own taste. For all, though, they can be fun to play around with flavors. Try different fruit combinations, or add some herbs like mint for extra flavor, for example.
Finally, make sure you chill the drink or as a minimum, serve it over ice. These are drinks that are all about refreshment, so being really cold helps maximize this.
This strawberry agua fresca is a classic version of this refreshing style of drink, and you'll soon understand why it's so popular. It's easy to make, just sweet enough and with a great strawberry flavor. Refreshment never tasted so good.
Try these other refreshing drinks:
- Cantaloupe agua fresca
- Blueberry lemonade
- Spanish horchata de chufa (tiger nut milk)
- Mint lemonade (limonana)
- Plus get more drink recipes in the archives.
Strawberry agua fresca
- 1 cup strawberries 160g, approx
- 1 cup water 240ml
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- Remove stems from the strawberries and halve or roughly chop.
- Place the strawberries, water, sugar and lime juice in a blender and blend until well combined and smooth. Adjust amount of sugar and water to taste. If you prefer, strain the mixture (or not as you prefer).
- Chill the drink until needed or serve immediately. In both cases, best served over ice.
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I first shared the recipe for Agua de fresa on Curious Cuisiniere where I am a contributor.