As I’ve mentioned previously, when Nathan got home from Mexico and we started dating again, we ate a lot of Mexican food. Tacos and sopes and tacos and tacos, remember? Yes, all very delicious. Well one night, to go along with all this Mexican food, Nathan told me he wanted to “make some water”. Hmmm. Ok. I thought water came “made”, but, yeah sure, let’s go for it. And that’s when my eyes were opened to the wonderful world of aguas frescas.
Agua fresca, literally “fresh water” in Spanish, is a super simple drink that consists of blended up fresh fruit, water, and sugar. Typical flavors include melon (watermelon or cantaloupe), cucumber, lime, tamarind, and hibiscus (my favorite!). Agua fresca is as commonplace in Mexico as street tacos and Coke in glass bottles. You’ll typically see it ladled out of a big clear plastic container, and I’m pretty positive everyone in the entire country uses the exact same container. Google it, you’ll see 🙂
Hibiscus (jamaica in Spanish) agua fresca is a bit different than fruit-based versions. Instead of blending the flowers, you let them steep in boiling water like tea to extract their delicious flavor. What exactly does hibiscus taste like? That’s a bit tricky to pinpoint. I think it’s a little bitter without sugar, but once it’s sweetened, it has a nice fruity, slight raspberry taste. Add some lime – perfection. And that red color… so striking!
Apart from not serving this out of the necessary plastic container, this Hibiscus Lime Agua Fresca is super authentic and so refreshing. Serve it alongside some al pastor tacos and plenty of guacamole, and you’ll have yourself one great fiesta!
Hibiscus Lime Agua Fresca
A true Mexican fiesta wouldn't be complete without agua fresca, and this Hibiscus Lime Agua Fresca is vibrant, authentic, and so refreshing.
- 5 cups water, divided
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (can be found at a Mexican market)
- 3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 limes
- ice for serving
In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flowers. Let the flowers steep while the water cools to room temperature. Pour the water through a strainer to separate out the flowers.
While the water cools, wash the limes really well with hot water. Cut each lime into 8 wedges. In a blender, add the limes, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 cup of water. Blend on low for about 10 seconds - just long enough to extract the juice from the limes without blending the skins as well. Strain the content of the blender into a liquid measuring cup and discard the lime solids.
In a large pitcher, combine the cooled hibiscus water and the lime/sugar water. Depending on your preference, you may want to add up to 1/4 cup sugar. Stir well until all the sugar has dissolved. Serve chilled with plenty of ice. Enjoy!