I remember my first taste of agua de horchata. I was living in Acapulco and I stopped by a little neighborhood cafe with a girlfriend. She told me it was a refreshing drink made with rice, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. This piqued my curiosity because I had a hard time understanding how rice could be refreshing. The waitress set a glass down in front of me filled with what looked like milk with a slight beige tint. I took a sip, and my love affair with aguas frescas was born.
Aguas frescas roughly translates to “refreshing waters” in Spanish. They’re delicious drinks with a water and sugar base, infused with fruits, cereals (like rice or wheat), or even flowers. You can find them at any food establishment throughout Mexico, whether it’s a taco stand or a five-star restaurant, and they provide an incredible alternative to water or soda.
My friend Leslie Limon is also a huge fan of aguas frescas. She’s a beautiful American woman raising a family in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. (Oh, who am I kidding? She’s practically Mexican!) On her blog, La Cocina de Leslie , she posts mouthwatering Mexican recipes, including aguas frescas.
Since she is so much more talented than I am in the kitchen (ahem), I’ll share some of my favorite recipes from her blog…
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water)  Leslie refers to this drink as part of the “aguas frescas trinity” (Jamaica, Horchata and Tamarindo, the three flavors you’re sure to find everywhere in Mexico). It’s a personal favorite… very refreshing and made from dried hibiscus flowers. Talk about exotic!
Agua de Sandia (Watermelon Water)  No explanation needed for this one! Just as refreshing as it sounds.
(Leslie, you’re missing my favorite! I’d love to see your recipe for agua de melon.)
During my trip to Oaxaca , a few of us also got to experience an aguas frescastasting with the city’s famous Aguas Casilda. They set up a table offering clay pots of refreshing drinks, then combined them to make unique flavors.
They offered us different combinations of tuna (aka pitaya), horchata, lime, and even pumpkin. The pumkin water didn’t look too appetizing, but trust me, it was delicious!
It was an incredible experience to taste these incredibly fresh aguas frescas. If you want to learn more about different flavors, you can check out Aguas Casilda’s website by clicking on the button (Make sure to click on the “Sabores” tab to see everything they offer… pretty impressive!)
Next time you’re in a restaurant in Mexico, make sure to ask, “Qué aguas tienes?“
Have you ever tried any aguas frescas? What’s your favorite flavor?(Mine is agua de melon… canteloupe water!)
Disclosure: I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program. I was also invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Oaxaca as part of my role. All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.