Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Mexico has a wonderful variety of sweetened flavored waters, known as aguas frescas, which are sold at street stands and marketplaces everywhere you go. They’re made from a wide range of ingredients, including citrus juices, melons, even cucumbers. The unexpected combination of melon and basil proves to be incredibly refreshing. Choose cantaloupes that are heavy for their size and have a fresh fragrance, with no sloshing sound when shaken.–Adam Rapoport

LC Getting Fresh Note

Whereas we often take insult when someone gets fresh with us, we welcome any advances when they involve an agua fresca, which is Spanish for “fresh water.” In particular, we swoon to this cantaloupe agua fresca recipe as well as the watermelon variation beneath. One sip and we think you’ll understand why.

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 25 M
  • Serves 4


  • 10 cups chopped cantaloupe (about 3 pounds rindless fruit)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup cold water
  • Ice, for serving


  • 1. Working in batches, purée the cantaloupe in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Skim the foam from the surface and then strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve, preferably lined with cheesecloth, into a pitcher. Stir in the lemon juice, basil, and water. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
  • 3. Fill glasses with ice and divvy the agua fresca among them.

Agua Fresca Variation

  • Watermelon and Grapefruit
  • Substitute 9 cups chopped, seeded watermelon (about 2 1/2 pounds rindless fruit) for the cantaloupe, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice for the lemon juice, and omit the basil and water. Blend, skim, strain, and serve immediately over ice.
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