Whether you’re looking to survive the oppressive heat of Yucatán, or want to take advantage of the region’s tropical fruits and citrus, Aguas Frescas (fresh waters, in Spanish) are some of our favorite drinks and are an excellent choice to refresh yourself while on the go. They’re so popular that you can find them in markets, fairs, and everyday restaurants.
Water, fruit, sugar, and ice are the ingredients that when combined give rise to the Aguas de Sabor (flavored waters), as they are also known. Their natural flavors make them a favorite among locals and visitors alike to accompany meals at any time of the year, or as a substitute for plain water.
Their origin comes from an ancient tradition that has been maintained throughout the country, which varies with the ingredients found in each state and takes what the land produces to delight the senses with its rich flavors and colors. Aguas Frescas are different from fruit juice, as the latter is usually more intense in flavor and contains the pulp or juice of the fruit with little to no water. By contrast, flavored waters have a lighter flavor but are equally delicious. In other states around the country, these beverages are kept cool in large, transparent glass jars that let you see their wonderful colors. In Yucatán they are traditionally kept in aluminum jugs with lots of ice.
In Yucatán, Aguas Frescas have established themselves as an excellent pairing to enjoy alongside traditional cuisine, for example: a Torta de Cochinita with Horchata, a plate of Poc Chuc with Lime or sour orange water, or Antojitos with Agua de Chaya. Horchata, Chaya, and lime or sour orange are the favorite flavor trio in the region. Cebada (barley), tamarind, Jamaica (hibiscus), pineapple, and other seasonal and exotic flavors are also popular, such as Guanábana (soursop) and Pitahaya (dragon fruit).
Since they’re made with natural ingredients, their health benefits stand out compared to other drinks, and they’re an excellent ally to quench your thirst. They’re also extremely easy to make since you only need to extract the juice or blend the fruit with water, adding sugar or sweetener, and – of course – lots of ice to keep it nice and cool.
You can ask for Aguas Frescas in markets, restaurants, or specialized stands that sell popsicles and drinks. So on your next visit to Yucatán, try the Aguas Frescas!
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
Born in Mérida, Violeta is a communicologist dedicated to writing and creating content on tourism, fashion, and entrepreneurship. She has recently started working as an English-Spanish translator.
Photography by Maggie Rosado for use in Yucatán Today.
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