This Drink Is Just the Thing to Cool You Off in the Heat of Summer

BY America's Test Kitchen TIMEMay 25, 2022 PRINT

Agua fresca means “fresh water.” It is the name for a variety of drinks that are made by combining fruits, grains, seeds, or flowers with sugar and water. Some of the most common agua fresca varieties are horchata (made with rice and nuts), agua de Jamaica (made with hibiscus tea), and any variety of melon.

We chose watermelon for our recipe and added lime juice, honey, and just a little salt to bring out the sweet and tart flavors. Serve it in a clear glass to show off that color!

Garnishes can also add pizzazz to your beverage. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Add fresh fruit on top, such as slices of lemon or lime or watermelon shapes.
  • Wrap a strip of citrus peel around a chopstick and place the corkscrew peel in the glass for flair.
  • Boost flavor with the addition of fresh herbs, such as a sprig of mint or rosemary.

Watermelon Agua Fresca

Serves 4 to 6 (Makes about 6 cups)

  • 8 cups (1-inch pieces) seedless watermelon (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, squeezed from 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Ice
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Place a fine-mesh strainer over a pitcher; set aside.

Add half of the chopped watermelon and half of the water to a blender jar. Place lid on top of blender and hold firmly in place with a folded dish towel. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Pour mixture into a fine-mesh strainer set over a pitcher. Use a rubber spatula to stir and press on watermelon bits to get out as much juice as possible. Discard the solids in the strainer.

Repeat blending and straining in the second and third steps with the second half of the watermelon and water.

Add lime juice, honey, and salt to the pitcher. Use a rubber spatula to stir until well combined.

To serve, place ice in glasses and pour agua fresca over ice. Add a lime wedge and mint (if using) to each glass.

Note: Agua fresca can be refrigerated for up to five days; stir to recombine before serving.

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