Agua fresca, Spanish for “fresh water”, is a non-alcoholic beverage made from fresh fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, and papaya. It is typically sold by street vendors and restaurants all over Mexico and is usually ladled from large barrel-shaped glass jars. Traditionally, agua fresca is made by combining fruit, water, and sugar. This version, agua de sandia, or literally “watermelon water”, is the perfect way to use this summer’s juicy, ripe watermelon. It’s a colorful and festive alternative to lemonade or iced tea.
For me, having a refreshing drink like an agua de sandia while sitting out in the backyard is a great way to unwind after a long and busy day.
Agua de Sandia
Adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless
Yields approximately 1 quart
2 1/2 to 3 pounds seedless watermelon
1 1/2 cup water
1 to 2 ounces fresh lime juice, to taste
sugar, to taste depending on the sweetness of the watermelon
Cut the watermelon in quarters and scoop the flesh from the rind. Place the watermelon into a blender along with 1/2 cup of water and purée until smooth. Do this in batches if all of the watermelon won’t fit into your blender.
Pour into a large pitcher. If the melon is very sweet, taste before adding sugar; it may not need much, if any. Add the remaining 1 cup of water, lime juice and sugar, to taste. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Serve over ice and garnish with a lime wedge and watermelon chunks.
Variation: Add sparkling water for an added fizz or for an adult beverage, add tequila and triple sec to make a margarita.