Mexican Water – Agua Fresca: A Complete Guide

Mexican Waters: Agua Fresca

If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy water, that is low in sugar while still being delightfully refreshing, making aguas frescas is what you need to do. These popular Mexican fresh water fruit drinks will change your life.

Aguas frescas originated in Mexico long ago, before soda became a thing aguas frescas was the original drink du jour. These are very popular in the country. Every busy Mexican shopping street will have carts with huge, colorful containers of aguas frescas. With just a blend of water, fruits, sugar, and ice, aguas frescas will undoubtedly be your next go-to refreshment.

Read on to know more about aguas frescas and get ready to experience Mexico’s favorite drink!

What is an agua fresca?

Agua fresca (plural: aguas frescas)  is a light, non-alcoholic Mexican flavored water. Sweet, refreshing, and invigorating– aguas frescas are ice-cold blends of water with infused fruits, seeds, cereals, or flowers, that can instantly quench your thirst. They are popular in the streets and homes of Mexico. They are also served during fiestas and gatherings, especially to those who don’t consume alcohol.

Aguas frescas are so much different from the sweetened and bottled beverages bought from stores. They are made from natural ingredients mixed with little to no sugar. Aguas frescas can give you that same (or even more) satisfaction you get from drinking cold sodas and energy drinks.

The History Of Agua Fresca

What’s more interesting about agua fresca is that it has a history behind it. Back in the 15th century, Aztecs would voyage along the rivers of Tenochtitlán and gather fruits along the way. They would muddle these fruits with water, then add ice from the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl dormant volcanoes nearby to make it more hydrating.

Over the years, agua fresca has become a staple beverage in Mexico. And being the healthy “fruit water” it is, Mexicans grew up with this refreshing drink. More variety of flavors– a mix of fruits, seeds, and spices such as cinnamon, were added as time went by.

Although aguas frescas originated in Mexico, they have also become popular in several countries such as Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Some of the aguas frescas’ most favorite blends there are made of oatmeal and citrus juice. Meanwhile, in the United States, aguas frescas are commonly enjoyed as lemonades.

Why is it called “agua fresca”?

Agua fresca came from a Spanish word. Agua means “water” and fresca means “fresh” or cool”. Together, agua fresca translates to “fresh water”.

However, there may be some confusion with the terminologies in other countries. Aguas frescas are called “frescos” (short for “refrescos”) in Guatemala and Nicaragua, which means “soft drinks” in Mexico. Conversely, “aguas” (short for “aguas gaseosas”) are “soft drinks” in Guatemala, which are often misunderstood as “aguas frescas” in Mexico.

What is agua fresca made of?

Agua fresca mainly consists of fruits, herbs, seeds, grains, or flowers. It can be enjoyed with a single flavor, but there are also different combinations to try for a more unique taste. Just add water and ice after blending the main ingredients, and you’re all set! Depending on your preference, you can put on a bit of sweetener.

Adding water may not be necessary for some fruits with high water content, such as watermelons and cantaloupes. After blending, add some ice right away, and indulge in a healthy, fiber-rich drink.

Is Agua Fresca Good For You?

Unlike those sugar-packed drinks, agua fresca is all-natural. You have the option to add a sweetener, or you can use natural sweeteners instead. Agua fresca can be served unfiltered, so you can absorb all the fiber and nutrients.

Is it safe to drink agua fresca?

Since aguas frescas are usually sold in the streets, you may be wondering if they are safe to drink. Most vendors use purified water for the water and ice. However, if you’re still skeptical about it, you can ask the vendor to use distilled water in your drink.

Can agua fresca cause blood sugar spikes?

Aguas frescas contain natural sugar from the fruits. It’s unlikely to cause blood sugar spikes. But suppose you want to be extra careful. In that case, you can try making aguas frescas using fruits with a low glycemic index.

How many calories are in a glass of agua fresca?

The number of calories in an agua fresca varies depending on the ingredients you use. Some fruits are lower in calories while some are higher. A typical glass of agua fresca has about less than a hundred to up to two hundred calories.

Can kids drink agua fresca?

Absolutely! Aguas frescas are one way to make your kids enjoy fruits. Plus, they are super healthy.

Agua Fresca Flavors

There is a wide variety of agua fresca flavors you can choose from. However, they vary according to season. Some fruits are available all year round, while some are seasonal. For instance, strawberries, cucumber, cantaloupe, and pineapple-flavored aguas frescas are perfectly sweet and ripe during summertime.

The most popular agua fresca flavors are watermelon, lime, tamarind, horchata, and jamaica. These drinks will just offer you an exceptional experience, especially when partnered with your favorite meal of the day.

Below are the many flavors of agua fresca.


  • Strawberry
  • Orange 
  • Cucumber
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Prickly pear
  • Guava
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Watermelon
  • Raspberry
  • Peach
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Tamarind
  • Pineapple
  • Honeydew
  • Cantaloupe


  • Rosemary
  • Thyme 
  • Mint

Seeds and Grains

  • Chia
  • Horchata
  • Cebada


  • Jamaica
  • Alfalfa
  • Vanilla

Flavor Combos

  • Apple and lychee
  • Strawberry and kiwi
  • Strawberry and horchata
  • Pineapple and strawberry
  • Papaya and lime
  • Cucumber and lime
  • Watermelon and lime

What do you need to make an agua fresca?

Making an agua fresca is really simple. You don’t need to make an effort to go outside just to have a taste of it. In more or less ten minutes, you can enjoy your freshly made agua fresca at the comfort of your home.

These are the things that you’ll need to make an agua fresca: the flavor/s of your choice, a knife, blender or masher, strainer, water, sweetener, some ice cubes, and of course, your agua fresca container.

Your Preferred Agua Fresca Flavor

You have all the freedom to choose the flavor of your agua fresca. It can be a fruit you love, a healthy grain, flower, or herb. It can be any ingredient that’s readily available at your home. 

But if you’re wondering what flavor to try first and would like something simple, stick with fruits. Watermelon is a great choice. It’s available year-round, so you can easily find it at supermarkets. More importantly, its water-rich nature would give you that thirst-quenching experience, while absorbing some of it’s latent vitamins and minerals.


You may need to cut the fruits into small pieces for more effortless blending and mashing. Also, some fruits like watermelon and mango contain seeds inside. Use a knife to remove the seeds, and be careful not to mix those in your agua fresca.

Blender or Masher

Use a blender to puree your ingredients along with a bit of water. Having a high-powered blender will make things faster for you as it will only take 1-2 minutes to puree your fruits completely. But if you have a less powerful blender, you just have to wait a little bit longer until your fruits are smoothly mixed.

It won’t also be a problem if you don’t have a blender at home. Back in the day, aguas frescas were made by mashing the fruits using a fork or masher. After adding water and some ice, voila! It’s agua fresca, freshly made- the traditional way. You can try this method and still enjoy the invigorating experience the drink offers.


Straining is done to filter out seeds or pulp mixed with your puree after blending to make your agua fresca smoother and achieve that “fruit water” consistency.

Using a strainer is optional, though. If you want an even healthier drink, leave the pulp for the additional fiber content.


To avoid waiting until your agua fresca is cold enough to drink, you can add cold water right after making the puree. If there’s no cold water stored in your fridge, that’s fine. Just throw in plenty of ice cubes and wait a few minutes for it to cool.

In some instances, adding water may not be necessary. Fruits such as cucumber and watermelon can be watery enough after blending or mashing. In this case, it would be best to use a strainer to filter out the pulp for that smooth texture.


Adding a sweetener is optional, especially if you don’t want that added sugar content. One good thing about aguas frescas is that they already contain natural sugar from the fruits. But if you want that extra sweetness, adding a little bit of sugar should not harm you. You can also try healthier options such as honey or artificial zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia.

Here’s a list of natural sweeteners that you can use:

  • Cane sugar
  • Coconut sugar
  • Honey
  • Dates
  • Agave
  • Honey
  • Piloncillo

Ice cubes

Your agua fresca won’t be complete without ice cubes. Add in some (or plenty) of ice cubes to enjoy that extra cool and revitalizing experience!

Agua Fresca Container

If you’re making an agua fresca for yourself, having it in a glass is perfectly enough. You can also make some in excess and pour it into a pitcher. Store that in your fridge, and you won’t have to repeat the whole process of making an agua fresca whenever you’re craving for one.

You’ve also probably seen some images of aguas frescas stored in huge containers. Street vendors in Mexico usually use transparent plastic or glass containers to display these very colorful drinks.

How To Make An Agua Fresca

Now, the real question. How do you make an agua fresca? Here’s how you make one.

The following recipe makes about two cups. The total preparation time is around five to ten minutes, given that all your equipment and ingredients are ready.


  • 1 cup chopped fruit/s
  • 1 cup water
  • Sweetener of your choice (optional, to taste, often it’s unneccesary)
  • Ice cubes


  1. In a blender, mix the chopped fruits, water, and sweetener (optional) until it reaches your desired consistency. Adjust accordingly depending on your preferred sweetness.
  2. Optional: Using a strainer, filter out the pulp and seeds. This step is essential if you want a smooth consistency of agua fresca.
  3. Transfer in a glass and garnish it with a fruit slice.
  4. Add some ice cubes.
  5. Serve and enjoy.

Avoid Doing This In Making Your Agua Fresca

  • Don’t put too much water in the blender. This will make your agua fresca look like a frothy smoothie.
  • Don’t mix crushed iced in the blender. Same as the first one, this would turn your agua fresca into a fruit shake. 

Agua Fresca Recipes

There are just a lot of agua fresca flavors you can choose from. To make things easier, we’ve made a compilation of the different agua fresca flavors to try.

Single Flavor Agua Fresca

Watermelon Agua Fresca

A perfect drink during summertime, watermelon agua fresca will give you that extra cool and hydrating experience. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a delicious drink for kids. Making this doesn’t require tedious preparation. It’s straightforward, and it’s also easier to make this drink in large batches.


  • 1½ cups diced watermelon (rind removed)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Ice cubes

Note: It will be very tiring to remove the watermelon seeds one by one, especially if you’re making a large batch. For this reason, it’s better to blend the fruit together with its seeds. After that, allow some time for the ground seeds to settle at the bottom. Transfer the puree to a container, leaving the seeds inside the blender.

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Cantaloupe agua fresca is another drink with a simple recipe. Making this, especially when the fruit is at its peak sweetness, will let you have that sweet and juicy taste. Unlike watermelon, cantaloupe’s seeds are packed in the middle, making them easier to remove.


  • 1 ½ cups diced cantaloupe (seeds and rind removed)
  • 1 quart water
  • ¼ cup sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Note: After blending, you may see some fruit pulp in the puree. You can use a strainer to remove it or leave it so you get all its fiber and nutrients.

Lemon Agua Fresca

Lemon agua fresca, more commonly known as lemonade in other countries, has a perfectly balanced sweet and sour taste. This drink is a good pair with any meal.


  • 1 lime (half of the rind removed)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Ice cubes

Note: Avoid blending the fruit for a long time. This will result in a bitter taste which you surely wouldn’t want. It’s best to strain the puree after blending to achieve the smooth texture of the drink.

Tamarind Agua Fresca

Tamarind agua fresca is among Mexico’s favorite drinks. Making this is probably more tedious than other aguas frescas. Still, it’s well worth it because it tastes way better than those bottled tamarind-flavor beverages.


  • 10 tamarind pods (peeled, seeds removed)
  • 1 quart water
  • ¾ cups sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Note: To completely remove the seeds, boil the peeled tamarinds first until the pulp is soft enough. Allow some time for it to cool, then gently remove the seeds. Include the boiled water in making the puree inside the blender to get all the flavor.

Pineapple Agua Fresca

Pineapple juice offers many health benefits that aid digestion and reduce heart-related risks and common diseases such as colds. Pineapple is also available year-round, making it a perfect choice for aguas frescas.


  • 4 cups pineapple chunks
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • Ice cubes

Papaya Agua Fresca

Freshly ripe papayas are just best for aguas frescas. Aside from its natural sweetness, it is also very rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


  • 2 cups diced ripe papaya
  • 6 cups water
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Ice cubes

Cucumber Agua Fresca

Cucumber agua fresca is one of the most hydrating drinks out there. Cucumbers are already 98% water, so you may or may not add water in making the agua fresca.


  • 2 chopped cucumbers (peeled)
  • 6 cups water
  • ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • Ice cubes

Strawberry Agua Fresca

Strawberry agua fresca can be enjoyed every season as the fruit is available year-round. This is one of the most delicious flavors you can have.


  • 4 cups strawberries (hulled)
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Mango Agua Fresca

Mangos are often used to make desserts and salads. But, this is perfect for making agua fresca, too. You don’t even need to add sugar if they are perfectly ripe.


  • 2 cups chopped mangos
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • Ice cubes

Passion Fruit Agua Fresca

Passion fruit may be uncommon, but this is a very healthy fruit packed with antioxidants and fiber. It has a low glycemic index, so you don’t need to worry about that blood sugar spike.


  • 5 passion fruits (pulp only)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Jamaica Agua Fresca

Perhaps the most popular agua fresca in Mexico is Jamaica agua fresca. Jamaica is a dried hibiscus flower rich in vitamin C. It is commonly used in making teas. As an agua fresca, this is perfect for a hot summer day.


  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • 8 cups water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Ice cubes

Note: This recipe does not include blending. Instead, the dried hibiscus flowers should be boiled. To do this, add water in a saucepan, put the dried flowers in, and add sugar based on your preference. Cover and let it boil for about 15 minutes. The water will be deep red in color after boiling. Let it cool, then strain the liquid.

Horchata Agua Fresca

Mexico’s classic agua fresca, horchata, is made of white rice soaked in water. This is a perfect drink in the morning because it will provide you with the energy to jump-start your day.


  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ to 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3-5 cups water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Unique Blends

Lime And Chia Agua Fresca

Chia seeds are a great source of fiber. Make your lime agua fresca extra healthy by adding some chia seeds.


  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 5 cups water
  • 4 cups chia seeds
  • 1 cup sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Strawberry Horchata Agua Fresca

Want something creamy but fruity at the same time? Try this strawberry horchata agua fresca recipe. This combination is perfect for enjoying any time of the day.


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves (whole)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces strawberries (hulled)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk (optional)

Mango Strawberry Agua Fresca

This combo has a deliciously sweet flavor. The mango strawberry agua fresca can give you that extra refreshing experience.


  • 4 chopped mangoes
  • 10 strawberries (hulled)
  • ⅓ cup honey

Cucumber and Pineapple Agua Fresca

These two flavors are a perfect complement to each other. This agua fresca is truly a refreshing drink when added with some mint leaves.


  • ½ medium-sized chopped pineapple
  • 1 large chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 20 mint leaves
  • 6 cups water
  • Ice cubes

Something Fun To Try!

Guava Agua Fresca

This may not be one of the most popular, but if you want to try something unique, guava agua fresca is a good choice. It’s full of flavor, and its aroma will give you that tropical feel.


  • 1 cup diced guava (peeled, seeds removed)
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar (to taste)
  • Ice cubes

Note: Guava aguas frescas are best served if they are very cold. Leave the drink in the refrigerator for some time, or use cold water when blending if you plan to drink it right away. Add plenty of ice.

Banana Agua Fresca

If you particularly don’t like eating bananas, try turning them into an agua fresca. 


  • 4 sliced bananas (peeled)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • sugar (to taste)

Grape Agua Fresca

Grapes are rich sources of nutrients and antioxidants. Though a bit unusual, grape agua fresca is a delicious drink.


  • 1 cup grapes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice juice
  • Ice cubes

Note: It may need a longer blending time to puree the grape peels completely. Alternatively, you can strain the peels if you don’t want them mixed with your agua fresca.

Coffee Horchata Agua Fresca

Are you a coffee lover? Or is horchata one of your favorites? Try combining these two to make an agua fresca. Perfect during mornings or sleepy afternoons, a cup of coffee horchata will help in keeping you energized.


  • ¾ cup long-grain rice
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • Ice cubes

You can also try other unique combinations of your own. Just make sure to mix the ingredients and balance the sweetness perfectly.

How Long Does Agua Fresca Last?

Agua fresca can last inside the fridge for up to 72 hours. Before serving, make sure to give it a good stir. Separation may occur once the agua fresca is stored in the fridge since there are no additives.

What Is Spiked Agua Fresca?

If you’re craving some alcohol, you can make a spiked agua fresca. Spiked agua fresca is just the same as a regular agua fresca, except it has a hint of rum. Here is a simple recipe on how to make this.

Spiked Agua Fresca Recipe


  • 5 cups of any fruit you like
  • ⅛ cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅛ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup rum
  • 2 cups water
  • Ice cubes

What agua fresca did you make? Did you enjoy it? Let us know in the comments!

Adam S

Adam S

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