Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Cantaloupe agua fresca. It’s a simple flavored water that’s refreshing as heck. We think the rest of the world should take a cue from Mexico and have it on every street corner. Or else just make your own.

A glass filled with cantaloupe agua fresca, and glasses of other liquid around it.

Agua fresca is Spanish for “fresh water,” and whereas we often take insult when someone gets fresh with us, we welcome any advances when they involve an agua fresca. As author Adam Rapoport explains, Mexico has an astounding selection of sweetened flavored waters sold at street stands and marketplaces made from just about anything, whether citrus or cucumber or, as here melon. 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. Originally published July 9, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Choose A Ripe Cantaloup

When at the farmers market or grocery store, you’ve got to exert a little effort to find a perfectly ripe specimen. Pick a melon up. It should feel heavy for its size. Give it a sniff. It should emit an intoxicating fragrance. Give it a shake. You shouldn’t hear any sloshing.

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 25 M
  • Serves 4
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Working in batches, purée the cantaloupe in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.

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.

Fill glasses with ice and divvy the agua fresca among them.

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    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.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This cantaloupe agua fresca is so refreshing. The cantaloupe flavor is so pure it seemed like the equivalent of sticking a straw directly into the melon itself. I couldn’t detect any of the basil flavor, however. Next time I may try to make a basil-infused simple syrup to see if that increases the basil flavor. This agua fresca will be making an appearance at our next summer gathering.

    Refreshing! The basil is unexpected and delightful. Perfect for a hot afternoon. We’ll make this cantaloupe agua fresca again.


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    1. Try this with cucumber and lime and a little sugar, I promise you will like it, agua de pepino. In Mexico, where I live, they use less fruit or veg and more water but its however you like it. You can also sub mint instead of basil or use both. It also make a good cocktail with a little gin or vodka.

    2. I grew up drinking this stuff. Oh so good. Haven’t made Ague de Melon is a few months, time to make it.

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