Strawberry Agua Fresca, also known as agua de fresa, is a refreshing Mexican drink made with strawberries, water, and a hint sugar. It’s naturally sweet, hydrating, and packed with vitamins and antioxidants from the strawberries. I grew up loving strawberries, so this is one of my all-time favorite aguas frescas!
Growing up, we used to drive to Mexico every summer and I can vividly remember being in awe of the ruby red strawberries glimmering in baskets off of the carreteras in Irapuato. When I was in middle school, my family moved to Chino, California where strawberry fields were everywhere. This may be what sparked my love of fresas in all forms!
WHAT IS AGUA FRESCA?
Agua fresca literally translates to fresh, cold, or refreshing water, but literal translations do little to describe the true essence of these fruit-forward and fun drinks.
Aguas frescas are non-alcoholic beverages typically made by blending water and sugar with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Some are also made with dry ingredients such as rice, tamarind pods, and hibiscus, which are Mexican pantry staples.
According to the author and Mexican confections queen, Fany Gerson, aguas frescashave indigenous roots. “When Aztecs traveled from their farmlands to the markets in Tenochtitlan (what is now Mexico City), they would paddle through channels in the valley’s wetlands and mash some ripe fruit with water as a way to refresh themselves through the journey.”
Nowadays, aguas frescas are available just about everywhere in Mexico, from street-side food stands and ice cream shops in rural towns, to high-end restaurants in large cities. They are fresh, diversified, and vibrant and are part of daily life and culture in Mexico.
WHAT IS STRAWBERRY AGUA FRESCA?
This vitamin C-rich strawberry agua fresca is delicious in the summer, but can be enjoyed year-round in the U.S. where strawberries are often in season and accessible.
Strawberry agua fresca is made strawberries, water, and sugar and it’s perfectly delicious sweetened with agave nectar, too. In my humble opinion, its English translation, “Mexican strawberry water,” doesn’t do this delightful drink justice.
WHY I LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Easy to make: this delicious strawberry agua fresca takes about 5 minutes and two ingredients (plus water) to prepare!
- Loaded with nutrients: strawberries are high in vitamin C, and contain fiber, folate, and potassium.
- Versatile: enjoy it as a drink, as the perfect base for fresh cocktails, or frozen into popsicles.
10 FUN FRESA FACTS
I love fun fruit facts, and here are a few fun facts about strawberries:
- They’re not actually berries: Despite their name, strawberries aren’t true berries botanically. They’re accessory fruits, with their seeds on the outside.
- High in vitamin C: Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. One serving (about 8 strawberries) provides more vitamin C than an orange.
- Seeds are on the outside: My son loves this one! The average strawberry has around 200 seeds on its exterior.
- Symbol of amor: In medieval times, people served strawberries at important gatherings to symbolize peace and prosperity. They also represent love and romance.
- Ancient fruit: Strawberries have a long history and are one of the oldest fruits cultivated by humans, with records dating back to ancient Rome.
- Peak season: Strawberries are in season year-round in California. Peak season in other parts of the United States is typically from April to June, varying slightly depending on the region’s climate.
- Top producing strawberry states: California, Florida, and Oregon are among the top strawberry-producing states, with California being the leading producer by far.
- Varieties: The United States grows over 100 different varieties of strawberries, each with its unique flavor profile, size, and texture.
- Pick-your-own farms: Many farms across the country offer pick-your-own strawberry experiences, allowing families to enjoy the fun of harvesting fresh strawberries directly from the fields.
- Economic Impact: Strawberry farming contributes significantly to the economy, providing jobs and revenue for rural communities, especially during peak harvesting seasons.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF STRAWBERRIES
- Strawberries are a better choice for people with diabetes due to their low glycemic index compared to many other fruits. This means that they won’t cause blood sugar levels to spike as quickly, making them a safer opiton for managing blood sugar.
- Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, which supports a healthy immune system.
- They also contain antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and may lower the risk of heart disease.
- Fresas are high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, and supports a healthy gut.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin, also antioxidants found in strawberries, may help prevent age-related macular degeneration and maintain good vision.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Strawberries: I use fresh strawberries, but frozen strawberries will also work. Berries and other frozen fruits are typically frozen at peak ripeness, which means that they’ll be sweet.
- Sweetener: I like to use pure cane sugar, simple syrup, agave, or dates to sweeten my aguas frescas. Feel free to use your favorite sweetener or skip the sugar altogether.
- Water: Agua fresca is supposed to be light in texture, like a juice. It’s not a nectar, which is why I use plenty of water to thin it out.
RECOMMENDED FOR THIS RECIPE
Vitamin Professional-Grade Blender
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
1. Prepare strawberries
- Rinse strawberries
- Remove green tops
2. Blend ingredients
- Blend strawberries with cold water and sweetener of choice
3. Strain mixture
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain mixture into a large pitcher
4. Chill and enjoy
- Refrigerate until chilled and enjoy over ice
- Garnish with fresh strawberries, chopped or cut into halves, or fresh mint sprigs
- If you don’t have fresh strawberries, use frozen strawberries.
- Instead of pure cane sugar, use agave, honey, dates, or your sweetener of choice to make this recipe.
- Mix in mango, for a twist on this classic agua fresca.
- For a boost of iron, peel and add a small fresh beet to this recipe.
HOW TO STORE
Any aguas fresca is best served as soon as you make it. However, you can store your agua de fresa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up three days.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is strawberry agua fresca healthy?
Yes, strawberry agua fresca can be good for you as long as you don’t go overboard on the sugar! It’s great for hydration and contains essential vitamins and minerals while being low in calories.
Does agua fresca have caffeine?
No, traditional agua fresca recipes do not contain caffeine. Most people make them with fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, water, and some sort of sweetener (typically sugar or simple syrup).
What is the most popular agua fresca in Mexico?
This will always depend on whom you ask, because everyone has a favorite flavor. Popular combinations include limón con chía (lime with plump chia seeds), piña con espinacas (pineapple with spinach), and sandía (watermelon). Look for these in just about any mercado in Mexico and are even available in some Mexican grocery stores in the U.S.
Flavors that are more unique to Mexico include tuna (prickly pear), maracuyá (passion fruit), guanábana (soursop), coco (coconut), melón (cantaloupe), pepino (cucumber), guayaba (guava), and mango. While fruity aguas frescas are typically made daily using seasonal ingredients, there are also popular flavors made with dry pantry staples.
A few other popular agua fresca flavors are made with dry ingredients such as flowers, nuts, seeds, and grains. The “holy trinity” of aguas frescas includes agua de tamarindo,made with dry tamarind pods; agua de jamaica, made with dry hibiscus flowers; and agua de horchata, made with rice and cinnamon. Unlike other aguas frescas, these three can be made year-round because they aren’t reliant on seasonal fruits and vegetables.
LOOKING FOR MORE INSPIRATION?
- Strawberry Agua Fresca with Beets
- Mango Strawberry Agua Fresca
- Strawberry Beet Mezcal Margaritas
- Strawberry Hibiscus Sorbet
- ¡Viva la Vida! A Toast to Watermelon Agua Fresca
- Watermelon Lime Agua Fresca – Move over Arnold Palmer!
- All About Aguas Frescas
Agua de Fresa (Strawberry Agua Fresca)
- 1 pound strawberries about 4 cups rinsed and hulled
- 1/4 cup sugar or agave syrup or to taste
- 5 cups water divided
- Process strawberries, sugar, and 4 cups of water in a blender on medium setting for 60 seconds.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher. You may need to agitate the mixture to let the juice through but avoid pushing the pulp through to keep the juice light in consistency. Compost or discard the pulp.
- Stir in remaining 1 cup of water.
- Chill and serve over ice. Garnish with fresh strawberries or mint leaves if desired. Always stir before serving.
A Note from Lola
- I prefer my aguas frescas to be only slightly sweetened, so feel free to adjust the level of sweetness to your liking or skip the sugar altogether.
- My preferred natural sweeteners include pure cane sugar, simple syrup, agave, or dates.
- Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds before chilling.
Recipe Originally Published: February 9, 2014
Lola Wiarco Dweck
Lola is a Mexican-American recipe developer, writer, and cooking instructor who loves sharing her culture with the world. Growing up in California and spending summers in Mexico, Lola celebrates her family’s Mexican recipes and vibrant culture through Lola’s Cocina.