Celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Aguas Frescas

Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May in Spanish) is a holiday celebrating Mexico’s victory over France during the Battle of Puebla in 1862. On May 5th throughout cities and towns in Mexico and the United States, expect to find elaborate parades, street festivals, mariachi music performances celebrating Mexican culture and heritage. Whether you party at home, with friends, or join a street festival, food and drink are a large part of the cultural celebration.

Cinco de Mayo food is more than fast-food burritos, tacos, and tequila-laden drinks we associate with Mexican cuisine. In Mexico you’ll find street vendors selling not only food, but drinks from large glass bottles called aguas frescas which translates to ‘fresh waters’. 

Fresh Strawberries
Fresh strawberries for an Agua Fresca

The refreshing drinks are typically made with seasonal fruits such as strawberries,  watermelon, honeydew, and kiwi. There are even variations made with milk, grains and seeds. Add some sugar water to the mixture, herbs or spices and you’ve got a delicious non-alcoholic drink.

Since strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in spring and have a short six-week season; I’m going to enjoy the fruit for as long as I can. Therefore, In celebration of Cinco de Mayo and strawberries, here’s a recipe for a thirst quenching, agua fresca. It’s so good you’ll be saying “Qué bueno!”

(Agua Fresca de Fresa) Strawberry Fresh Fruit Water Recipe

Servings: 8-10

Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (620 grams) strawberries, washed, stalk removed, and sliced
  • 8-10 washed strawberries for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup (200 grams) white sugar
  • 8 cups (2 liters) cold water
  • 1 bio lime, cut into wedges (optional)
  • 8-10 fresh mint sprigs (optional)
  • Ice cubes or crushed ice (optional)

Agua Fresca de Fresa
Agua Fresca de Fresa (Strawberry Fresh Fruit Water)

Directions

  1. In a glass bowl, carefully mix together sliced strawberries, sugar, and 1 cup of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Pour the strawberry mixture into a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth. Alternatively, you can use a hand blender and mix until the strawberry slices are fully blended.
  3. Pour the blended strawberry mixture through a fine wire sieve set over a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Add the remaining 7 cups cold water to the strawberry water and mix well.
  5. Pour the mixture into festive glasses filled with ice. If desired, garnish with lime wedges, mint, and a whole strawberry.