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Aguas Frescas

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The Mexican beverages known as Aguas Frescas are an awe-inspiring complement to Mexico's cuisine. They're wonderfully unique and refreshing ... plus they provide a perfect balance to the spiciness of the food.

Huge glass containers of Aguas Frescas can be found at street stands all over Mexico, usually featuring whatever fruits are currently in season. Super healthy and oh-so-simple to make, these drinks only require three essential ingredients: fruit, water and sugar. How much easier can it get than that? Don't let the simplicity of these recipes fool you. The flavors will amaze you, and you just may find yourself hooked!

Agua Fresca De Fruta
Mexican Fruit Cooler

This basic recipe for aguas fresca is delicious with any of these fruits:

Honeydew or Cantaloupe Melon
Mango (use only 1 cup fruit; about 1 small mango)
Pineapple with a few fresh basil leaves
Strawberries (halved) with a few fresh mint leaves
Seedless Red Grapes (whole)
Red or Green Cactus pears (a.k.a. prickly pears) halved, pulp and seeds scooped out (wear rubber gloves)

2 cups cold water
1 cup ice cubes
2 cups fruit* (see list of fruits above) cut into 1-inch pieces unless otherwise specified
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend on high speed until completely smooth. Pour cooler through a fine sieve into a glass pitcher. Chill cooler and stir before serving.

Makes about 5 cups.


Agua De Tamarindo
Tamarind Cooler

4 ounces tamarind pods* (see note below) or tamarind pulp (about 1/3 cup)
6 cups water
2/3 cup sugar, or to taste
2 cups ice cubes

If using tamarind pods, twist stem ends and pull to remove strings. Discard peel. In a saucepan bring 4 cups water to a boil and add peeled tamarind pods or pulp and sugar. Simmer mixture 5 minutes and remove pan from heat. Let mixture stand at least 2 hours at room temperature to infuse and up to 1 day, covered and chilled.

Pour infusion through a sieve into a glass pitcher, pressing pulp through sieve, and discard seeds. Stir in remaining 2 cups water and ice. Chill cooler and stir before serving.

Makes about 8 cups.

Agua De Jamaica
Hibiscus-Flower Cooler

This traditional agua fresca gets its glorious red color from the jamaica, or hibiscus, flower, whose natural sourness is counteracted by the sugar.

4 cups water
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers* see note below (about 1 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar, or to taste
2 cups ice cubes

In a saucepan bring water to a boil and add flowers. Simmer mixture 5 minutes and remove pan from heat. Let mixture stand 30 minutes to infuse.

Pour infusion through a sieve into a glass pitcher, pressing on solids, and discard flowers. Add sugar and ice, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Chill cooler and stir before serving.

Makes about 6 cups.

*Note: Tamarind Pods and Dried Hibiscus flowers (known as Jamaica) may be purchased online at: http://www.mexgrocer.com and Dried Hibiscus flowers can usually be found at health food stores. Tamarind Pods can also be found at Thai or Mexican food stores.

Date: March 7, 2003


Reviewer: zulema ramirez

Reviewer: melanie neichin
I love these drinks-had them in Mexico--soo wonderful

Reviewer: Veronica
These are my favorite! You also may want to try the traditional way of mashing the fruit by hand...instead of using a blender.

Reviewer: brandy
Remarkable! I made it for my mom and she loved it thanks! She also admired the recipes that I’ve got from www.gourmandia.com and www.Everything-cake.com That I’ve made for her these sites are certainly amazing!


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