Agua Fresca is a beverage category that has long been popular in Mexico. Spanish for “fresh water,” aguas frescas are light, non-alcoholic drinks made with one or more fruits, flowers or other natural, often seasonal ingredients mixed with sugar and water. Aguas frescas are now popular not only in Mexico but also in Central America and, increasingly, in parts of the American Southwest.
There are traditional flavors, such as those made with hibiscus tea, tamarind and fermented pineapples, but operators have gotten creative and cross-cultrual with agua fresca, introducing ingredients like matcha and chia seeds. Seasonal fruits from temperate climates are welcome additions as well.
Market research firm Datassential reports that 31% of the population in the U.S. knows what agua fresca is and it has grown on menus by 58% over the past four years.
Click through the gallery to learn more about this flavor of the week and see how one restaurant is using agua fresca on its menu.