Agua fresca, translated as fresh waters, is a simple concoction of fruit, water, and some sugar. Easy and refreshing, it’s a popular beverage in hot climates. Now that the temperatures here are easily in the 90s on a daily basis, a cool and subtly sweet drink is a must.
Just as it is easy to make agua fresca, it’s just as easy to end up with bland sugar water. To avoid this, begin with a ripe fruit (or fruits) that have reached its maximum flavor profile. Then boost the punch with a complementary spritz of lime or muddle herb such as cilantro or mint.
I created my agua fresca variation after pairing our abundant amount of strawberries with my recent put-jalapenos-in-everything kick.
To ensure the jalapeno was present, yet underwhelming, I made simple syrup by simmering diced jalapeno with sugar water. After mixing the syrup with lime juice and pureed strawberries, I strained the blend through a sieve to prevent separation from occurring between the fruit and water. This isn’t a typical step in making agua fresca, but it beats having to shake up your drink every few minutes.
Strawberry Jalapeño Agua Fresca
1 cup water
½ cup coconut sugar, or white sugar
2 jalapeños, halved and sliced
15-20 medium strawberries, stems removed
1 cup coconut water
½ cup jalapeño simple syrup (recipe within)
juice of ½ – 1 lime
Prepare jalapeño simple syrup by dissolving sugar into simmering water. Add jalapeños and let simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Strain through sieve and discard jalapeño remnants (or save for other use).
In a blender, puree strawberries. Add coconut water, jalapeño simple syrup, and lime juice. Blend until well combined. Strain through sieve to remove seeds and prevent separation.
Serve over ice. Garnish with lime, mint, and/or slices of jalapeño.