Agua Fresca: the very name sounds like the epitome of refreshment. Aguas frescas (or “fresh waters” in Spanish) are delicious and thirst-quenching drinks made from fruits, seeds, flowers, nuts, and cereal grains.
The most popular variety of agua fresca is probably horchata, a creamy, sweet beverage served throughout Latin America, Spain, and the US. There are several types of horchata, but most recipes call for cinnamon and sugar. Horchata can be made from almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley or tigernuts.
In Mexico, Tamarindo and Jamaica aguas frescas are close runners-up in popularity to horchata, but they’re not the only types of aguas frescas available; far from it. Aguas frescas can be found in a wide array of flavors, including cantaloupe, mango, orange, opuntia, cucumber, lime, hibiscus, chia, and even alfalfa.
In the Latin world, aguas frescas are often sold by street vendors and made at home, but commercial varieties are also available in convenience stores and bodegas.
Agua frescas are just what the doctor ordered for cooling and cleansing the palate after a savory, spicy meal, and they make a wonderful refreshment. Their sweet-yet-subtle flavors are light and quenching, never too sweet.
When the summer heat is beating down, you might be tempted to reach for a can of soda, but you’d be better off drinking an agua fresca. Most sodas are chock full o’ the bad stuff: high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and flavors, and mystery chemicals with unpronounceable names. They’re also completely devoid of nutritional value.
Most varieties of aguas frescas are quite healthful in comparison to your average soda. They generally have far less sugar per serving, and the ingredients they use are often full of nutrients.
If you’re making your own agua fresca, you can select healthy ingredients for maximum nourishment, choose your own sweetener, or even skip the additional sugar entirely and rely on the fruit for flavor.
At Laughing Planet, we’re big fans of aguas frescas, especially when the sun is beating down, and we couldn’t resist coming up with our own special recipe. Don’t worry; we’re willing to share.
Our take on this wonderful tradition features delicious local blackberries, fresh limes, and chia seeds (superfood!), and we dare say, it’s one of the best we’ve had. If you’re in need of a sweet summertime treat that you’ll feel good about, stop by your nearest Laughing Planet Cafe and give our agua fresca a try.
[Photo Credit: Laughing Planet Facebook]