Refreshing Mexican Drinks & How to Make Them - Aguas Frescas

It’s ironic that just as I had started to write the introduction to this post about how hot it has been lately, the intense dry heat of Querétaro, the merciless sun, the house being like an oven, etc, the weather cools down considerably and the rains begin.  Now in July, the heat has come back with a vengeance - until the next thunderstorm relieves it a little.

Here in our little corner of Mexico usually May and June are the hottest months - although this year most of June was a bit of a washout.  When it's not raining the heat is muggier and more overcast, which I think I actually prefer to the relentless burning sun of spring.  In any case, 'hot' is relative; the sun is a fixture pretty much all year round so cool, refreshing drinks are always in demand.

Luckily we have lots of options here and there are a variety of cold drinks available to buy or make yourself to keep your thirst quenched.  One of the most common and traditional types of drinks you will find here is Agua fresca, which translates as fresh or cool water, but it is really a blend of fruit or flowers and water.  The best aguas frescas are made with real fruit of course and all natural ingredients.  You can get versions prepared from syrup or powder but they are not the same.

These aguas frescas are ideal to accompany a barbecue or any summer meal, or just to sip whenever you fancy - mid- morning, mid-afternoon, they will keep you cool!  Wherever you are in the world, I'm sure you'll appreciate these refreshing Mexican drinks.

Refreshing Mexican Drinks And How To Make Them - Aguas Frescas


You will need the fresh ingredients, plenty of cool water, a jug, perhaps some ice and in many cases a blender to prepare these drinks.



Agua de Jamaica


Jamaica is Spanish for hibiscus and this striking magenta colored drink is made with hibiscus flowers.  It has quite a tart flavour, lessened by adding more sugar.  It also has various health benefits, most famously as a diuretic, but it is also high in vitamin C and antioxidants (just look at that colour!) amongst other things.

I’ve just read that it’s not advisable to drink agua de jamaica when pregnant as it could cause miscarriage.  I’d never heard this before so I don’t know how reliable the information is, but it’s something to bear in mind.

Dried Jamaica flowers on a plate


You will need:


1 cup of dried hibiscus flowers
12 cups of water
½ cup of sugar (approx. depending on taste)
Ice cubes

How to make it:


Boil 4 cups of water together with the hibiscus flowers for five minutes on a low flame.
Strain into a jug.  Note: You don’t have to throw away the flowers – you could save them to use again (they will give the water a more delicate flavour the second time around) or you could use them to make tacos de flor de Jamaica!
Add the remaining water and the sugar to the jug and mix well.
Serve with ice or refrigerate to chill.
Enjoy!

How To Make Refreshing Mexican Drinks Part 1 Aguas Frescas


 Agua de Horchata


This is another traditional Mexican drink, made with rice – unlike the the Spanish Horchata drink which I think is made with a type of nut.  It is quite sweet and creamy, but refreshing at the same time.  Kind of like ice cream in a drink!

You will need:


A blender
1 cup of uncooked white rice, washed
1 tin of condensed milk (387g)
1 tin of evaporated milk
2 litres of water
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)
Powdered cinnamon (optional)
Ice

A Glass Of Agua De Horchata Seen From Above With Cinnamon Sprinkled On Top. In Front Are Two Cinnamon Sticks And Behind A Jug Of Agua De Horchata.

How to make it:


Heat ½ litre of water in a pan.  When it comes to the boil take it off the heat and add the rice and cinnamon stick.  Leave to soak at least an hour.

Blend the rice and cinnamon stick together with the water it was soaked in until well ground.

Strain the mixture and pour into a jug.  Add the evaporated milk, the condensed milk, the remaining water and the vanilla extract, if you're using it, and mix well. Refrigerate to chill.

Serve with ice and sprinkle with powdered cinnamon.  Delicious!

A glass of frothy Agua de horchata in front of the jug it was poured from.


Agua de Limon con chia


Agua de limon is another staple of Mexican mealtimes, so quick and simple to make.  It is basically traditional lemonade, made with limes rather than lemons (limón is lime in Mexico).  Adding chía to the drink gives it an interesting twist and you get the health benefits of the chía seeds too.

You will need:


2 litres of water
4 - 6 limes (depending on size and personal taste)
1/2 cup sugar (approx)
2 - 3 teaspoons chía seeds


Several Whole Limes And Some Cut In Half With A Metal Lime Squeezer On A Fuschia Pink Table Mat

How to make it:


Apparently, (according to my mother-in-law) you should add the sugar to the water first, then the lime juice.  I can't see how it really makes a difference, perhaps it's just one of those mysteries of Mexican cuisine!

So add the sugar to the water in a large jug and mix well.  Cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice into the water.  You really want to avoid getting lime seeds in the water if possible - a handheld Mexican lime squeezer is very handy for this.

Then sprinkle the chía seeds into the water and mix very well, making sure all the sugar has dissolved.

Taste it first as you may need to add more sugar or lime juice or both to get it exactly to your taste.  Refrigerate to chill and serve with or without ice.

A Glass Of Lemonade Made With Limes And Chía Seeds Next To A Plate With Some Chia Seeds And Some Limes


Agua de Pepino con limon


Cucumber water with lime - it may sound strange but it is super refreshing and ideal for hot days.  You can - as with all these drinks - adjust the amount of sugar you use depending on how sweet you like your Agua de pepino.

You will need:


A blender
1 cucumber, de-seeded and cut into cubes (you can peel the cucumber or leave the skin on for extra fibre and a deeper green colour.  If you leave the skin make sure it's washed and, if you're in Mexico, disinfected too.)
5 - 6 tablespoons of sugar (approx)
1 litre water
2-3 limes
Ice

A blender containing water, cucumber chunks and sugar, ready to be blended into cucumber water

How to make it:


Blend the cucumber, sugar and water until completely mixed with no lumps.  You could blend the ice cubes at this point too or add them later.
Pour into a jug and squeeze in the lime juice.  Mix well.  Serve chilled or with ice.


A glass and a jug of cucumber and lime water

Agua de limón con cáscara


You won't believe how refreshing this drink is!  It is a different version of lemonade made with whole limes, peel and all.  Surprisingly, it works - it has a slight bitter lemon flavour which actually I prefer to the basic agua de limón.  It’s more elaborate to prepare and needs more sugar, though.

You will need:


A blender
3 large limes, thoroughly washed
11/2 - 2 litres of water
½ - 1 cup of sugar, according to taste


A Blender Containing Quartered Limes, Water And Sugar, The Same Blended With The Now Blended Mixture To Make Lemonade With Lime Peel

How to make it:


Cut the stalk end off the limes then chop them into quarters with the peel on.  Take out the seeds, or as many as possible.  Put the limes, the sugar and a litre of water in the blender and grind until the mix is as homogeneous as possible.  Strain the unblended bits of lime pulp, fibre and peel before adding the remaining water and mixing well.

It’s best to drink this soon after it’s prepared as it can start to turn bitter if you leave it longer.

A Jug And A Glass Of Refreshing Lemonade Made With Whole Limes With A Green Lime Next To The Glass

Agua de tuna


Agua de tuna (prickly pear water) gets my vote as the most refreshing drink ever!
The tuna, or prickly pear, is the fruit of the nopal cactus, found all over México.  It could be difficult to find outside Mexico, though.

How To Make Refreshing Mexican Drinks Part 1 Aguas Frescas


You will need:


A blender
1 litre water
10 prickly pears
50 g sugar (approx)

How to make it:


Blend the prickly pears with the sugar and water.  Strain the seeds and serve chilled or with ice.


Refreshing Mexican Drinks And How To Make Them - Aguas Frescas

Agua de piña con menta


Pineapple with a touch of mint makes a perfect cool drink for a heatwave.

You will need:


A blender
1 fresh pineapple
2 litres of water
1/4 cup of sugar
A small sprig of mint leaves, washed and disinfected

How to make it:


Heat a cup of water and dissolve the sugar in the hot water to make a syrup.  Leave to cool.

Peel and chop the pineapple, removing the tough core.  Place the chopped pineapple in the blender with the syrup and as much of the remaining water as will fit and blend until as smooth as possible.  You may want to strain the mixture if it still has bits of fibre in before adding a few mint leaves to the drink and blending for a few more seconds.  Don't overdo the mint as a little goes a long way to give an extra refreshing hint of mint.  Then pour into a jug and mix with the rest of the water.  Refrigerate to chill and serve with ice.

How To Make Refreshing Mexican Drinks Part 1 Aguas Frescas


Let me know if you try out any of these recipes this summer.  Look out for follow-ups to this post, coming soon, with recipes for some more, very peculiarly Mexican drinks.

Don’t forget to pick up your free printable recipe booklet of all these delicious, thirst-quenching drinks! Grab it here!







Refreshing Mexican Drinks And How To Make Them - Aguas Frescas

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Shank You Very Much

13 Comments

  1. Wow I love these suggestions. We're having a mad heatwave in the UK at the moment and some of these drinks will go down nicely! Thanks for the tips on some delicious recipes x #StayClassyMama

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  2. All those ones with the limes sound good...#Stayclassymama

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  3. I was very thankful to learn the tuna is a pear, and not a fish drink! Some amazing flavors you have here! Thank vanilla, cinnamon rice one sounds like a winner to me! #stayclassymama xoxo

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  4. Back from #mainylovessummer @myrealfairy xoxo

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  5. These look so good! I love the idea of mixing cucumber and lime #mainylovessummer

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  6. O Wow! All the drinks look so delicious and refreshing! #globalblogging

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  7. I could do with trying these to help in this heatwave! They sound great and completely thirst quenching. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

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  8. They are certainly different to orange juice! I'd love to try them #KCACOLS

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  9. I can't choose between the creamy rice one or a lime one! Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

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  10. we have an overabundance of cucumbers from our garden this year that my wife is struggling to get rid of. I'm going to pass this on and maybe start using them for drinks. Thanks for the inspiration #KCACOLS

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  11. These are soooo unusual! Not sure I’ll get around to making them this year but I’m loving the sound of the hibiscus one especially. Recently had a martini with hibiscus in and it was incredible.

    #mainylovessummer #KCACOLS

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  12. These drinks all sound so delicious and refreshing, many flavours I have never experienced before. #KCACOLS

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  13. Totally love hibiscus - might try it out! #kcacols

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