If you’ve ever been to a Mexican market or an authentic Mexican restaurant, you may be familiar with aguas frescas. The term literally means “fresh waters” and they’re a delightful and refreshing fruit drink.

Common flavors you’ll find are lime, tamarind, watermelon, strawberry, mandarin orange, pineapple, mango and hibiscus flower, just to name a few. For as many different fruits that can be made into aguas frescas, there are also many methods to make them. And depending on where you are, the same flavor of agua fresca may be made differently, too.

This recipe is one of my favorite kinds of aguas frescas and whenever I find agua de melón in the market or at a taquería, I almost always order one. In fact, there’s a little stand at an open-air market here in Chicago (the Maxwell Street Market, which operates on Sundays) where I can get agua de melón in a 24-ounce cup for only two dollars.

This recipe calls for cantaloupe, but you can also use honeydew (melón verde) and adjust the amount of sugar in the recipe to your taste. I like to use a little lime juice in mine, but that’s completely optional.

If you’re interested in other aguas frescas recipes, you can find recipes and methods for agua de jamaica (hibiscus flower juice), agua de piña (pineapple) and agua de tuna roja (red prickly pear) on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 of a ripe cantaloupe
  • 1/4 cup of sugar dissolved in a half cup of warm water
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • Optional: juice of half a lime

TOOLS

Begin by dissolving the quarter-cup of sugar in a half cup of warm water to create a simple syrup. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature.

Cut the cantaloupe into small cubes and put it into the blender with 1 cup of water until it’s completely liquified.

Place a fine mesh sieve over a pitcher and pour the contents of the blender through it. Use a spoon to press any remaining juice through the sieve.

Add the simple syrup to the pitcher and stir well. If you opt to use the lime juice, add that after the simple syrup.

Serve chilled or over ice. Yields 3 to 3-1/2 cups of juice, depending on the ripeness of your cantaloupe. Refrigerate any juice you’re not going to drink immediately and consume within two days for optimum freshness.

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