I don't remember the first time I had an "agua fresca". I'm sure I was very young, but I've always known about them and have always loved them.
An agua fresca is a beverage meaning "Fresh Water" in English. They're common in Latin American countries, as well as the Caribbean, apparently. They are, in short, stuff watered down with water ... and then sweetened with sugar! They are delicious, fresh, hydrating and ... an inexpensive way to split a melon, a bunch of limes or an assortment of nuts and spices between a large group of people! The water stretches the ingredient into a large volumetric mass, while the sugar enhances the flavors! Perfect!
For all intents and purposes ... lemonade is an agua fresco. Lemon juice mixed with water and sugar. Boom. YUM! Throw a little strawberry in there
and you've got something new and delicious!
I've spent a lot of time in Mexico (I lived there for 10 years)
. There were shops you could walk into that had WALLS full of giant chilled "garrafóns" (jugs)
, which look like massive clear barrels. Because they can be made from just about anything, walking into one of these shops is almost like walking into a candy store. There are brilliant colors and flavors everywhere. A virtual rainbow of colors and flavors! Pineapple, lime, Jamaica (hibiscus)
, tamarind, oat, rice, orange, almond, mango, strawberry, watermelon, passion fruit, prickly pear, cucumber, etc. There's a near limitless variety ... then ... the blends! OH MY!!
Image lifted from "One Girl in Portales"
One of the great things about agua frescas for a low-carber is the fact that we can sneak a little bit of extra fruit into lives! Make a big batch of orange-tamarind agua fresca for an INCREDIBLY deep and interesting flavor, without totally messing with your blood sugars. It'd be a bit brown and murky, but it would ALSO be exotic and action packed!
Here we have an INCREDIBLY simple one, resulting in just a smooth and mellow beverage; just watermelon, sweetener and water (plus a bit of lime and salt ... for counter balance and a small flavor boost!)
. Perfect any time!
Makes about 10 cups.