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.
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. This recipe has been updated. 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 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 basil leaves, 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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