Elevate your summertime beverage game with this non-alcoholic Strawberry Agua Fresca with Passionfruit! Agua fresca - translated "cool water," or literally "fresh water" - is the quintessential Mexican fruit drink... As the temperatures start to climb, what sounds better than "cool water?" Today, we're going to learn how to make aguas frescas!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - What are Aguas Frescas?
As I mentioned in the intro, agua fresca (singular) or aguas frescas (plural), translates "cool waters," or literally "fresh waters." Since we're regularly hitting the century mark in McAllen, cool waters is a lovely image.
While Mexican street vendors and bodegas all over the country sell aguas frescas, they're found throughout Central America and the Southwest United States.
These non-alcoholic and very simple fruit drinks combine one or more fresh fruits with a
natural sweetener (I like piloncillo syrup), fresh lime juice, and water. You may also include cereals (horchata), flowers (hibiscus/jamaica), and seeds (chia). One of the most appealing qualities (in my mind at least) is that they are unfiltered and contain the fiber of whole fruit.
This refreshingly light beverage is not "fruit juice," nor is it the ever popular fruit water (water with fruit floating in it). The best agua fresca is one that has only enough water to bring it to a drinkable consistency, and is sweetened just enough...
Like many of my recipes, my hope is that you will view this as more of a "template" than a "recipe" (like my Mexican Sweet Potato Salad). I'll include the strawberry passionfruit agua fresca recipe I made on photo day, but you'll find more ideas in the Aguas Frescas Ideas section below.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- fruit - You'll need about 4 cups of fresh fruit.
- fresh lime juice
- sweetener - My preference is piloncillo (aka turbinado, panela, jaggery) syrup. It's an all natural cane sugar. I keep it in both cone form and granular form in my pantry. Maple syrup, agave nectar, simple syrup, honey, are all good options. I do avoid sweetening my agua fresca with dry, granular sugar. It needs to be fully dissolved.
- water and ice
- Prepare your fruit - In the case of this specific combination, hull and slice the strawberries, halve the passionfruit (if using whole fruit), slice the lime in half, and gather your sweetener.
- Using a melon baller or spoon, remove the seeds and the pulp from the passionfruit. See how to prepare passionfruit for more information. Strain. Add the pulp to the blender, and reserve the seeds for garnish.
- Add strawberries, passionfruit pulp, sweetener, and water to a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
- Check for sweetness and acidity. Adjust if desired. Pour into glasses, and garnish with passionfruit seeds and fresh mint as desired. Enjoy!
🥃 Aguas Frescas Ideas
The following list is of combinations I've either tried or hope to try this summer!
- mango and tamarind
- cherimoya and orange
- lemon and cucumber
- Meyer lemon and ginger
- strawberry and cucumber
❓ Recipe FAQ
Yes. Seedy fruits like raspberries and blackberries will require straining, and that removes the body of your drink.
I think it's important to use liquid rather than granular sweeteners so that they're fully dissolved. As I mentioned earlier, I like piloncillo syrup, but you can use honey, agave nectar, maple syrup, etc.
The best way to enjoy an agua fresca is immediately after making it. However, we kept the remaining strawberry passionfruit agua fresca pitcher covered in the refrigerator, and really enjoyed it yesterday...
If you are averse to pulp, by all means, strain it. I prefer agua fresca to fruit juice because of the pulp and fiber, but it's totally fine to strain it out. Also, keep in mind that a powerful blender will make a smoother finished beverage.
It can be! Drinking whole fresh fruit with its fiber is preferable to just juice. It's thirst quenching and hydrating, and contains vitamins and minerals. Just don't over-sweeten it!
💭 Tamara's Tips
- The best aguas frescas are more fruit and less water. If you start with fruit that has a high water content like melon, you may not even need to add water.
- Avoid seedy fruits like raspberries and blackberries unless you want to run it through a strainer.
- Keep in mind that sweeter fruit requires less sweetener.
- TASTE AS YOU GO! The beautiful thing about simple "recipes" like this one, is you can make it exactly the way you want it. Start with a smaller amount of sweetener, and add it to taste. Add the juice of 1 lime, and if you like a little more acidity, squeeze another one.
- Choose fresh seasonal fruit for the best agua fresca!
🧂 Useful Stuff
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🍯 How to Make Piloncillo Syrup
- Combine equal parts turbinado (aka piloncillo, panela, jaggery) and water. Bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until completely dissolved. Cool completely before using.
- Store remaining syrup in an airtight container for 1 month (1:1 ratio)
With summer upon us, we need new, refreshing
non-alcoholic beverages, right? Just between us, I'm not above spiking my agua fresca with a little bit of my house made gin. 😉