This is a sponsored post in partnership with ALDI.
One of my absolute favorite memories from living with my host family in Costa Rica back in high school — and then visiting them again this past summer — was waking up each morning to the sound of a whirring blender making a fresh fruit refresco.
Or, as this drink is called in Mexico and many other Latin-American countries, agua fresca.
Actually, I should probably ‘fess up and clarify that mealtimes back in the 90’s weren’t exactly my favorite time of day. I was a ridiculously picky eater back in high school. And the black beans and fried plantains that were served with nearly every meal in Costa Rica weren’t exactly my fave, much less most of the other main courses that were so lovingly prepared. (<– I know, who was this girl? I did my best to make up for lost time — and meals — the last time I was back!)
That said, though, I always knew that I could count on a big glass full of some deliciously-sweet refresco to sip on at every meal. My host mom would blend up an enormous batch first thing every morning, and then serve up the leftovers at lunch and dinner. So the highly-anticipated moment of the morning was always walking into the kitchen to see what new color of juice would be filling the pitcher. Would it be yellow juice day? (My favorite — pineapple!) Or orange juice day? (Costa Rica’s national fruit — mango.) Or white juice day? (A fun word to say — guanabana.) Or the dreaded brown juice day? (Ok, I should admit there was one I couldn’t do — tamarind.)
Every day, there was always a new juice. And every day, those fresh-fruit juices always felt like such a sweet treat.
So ever since then, I’ve loved using any fresh fruit I have in the house to blend up refrescos (aguas frescas) of my own. They are the perfect way to use up leftover fruit, they take literally just a minute to make, and they always add a deliciously sweet note — along with some sweet memories — to any meal. Granted, I now make mine with natural sweeteners, instead of the heaps of granulated sugar that are traditionally used in most Latin American countries. But they’re still plenty sweet, and still just as delicious.
So if you’ve never made agua fresca before, I’d love to show you how!
Agua Fresca Recipe | 1-Minute Video
The beauty of aguas frescas is that you can make them with literally just about any fresh fruit. In general, I recommend going for the juicy ones, like citrus, berries, melons, stone fruit, etc. But just about any fruit that you can blend up will do. I went with some strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, and blackberries from ALDI for this tutorial, which I always love.
Just toss them in a blender with a 2:3 water-to-fruit ratio, or more/less depending on the juiciness of your fruit (you want the juice to be about the consistency you can sip through a straw, not as thick as a smoothie)…
…then add in some agave, honey, maple syrup, or any sweetener that you’d like. (<– Actually, many fruits don’t need extra sweetener. So I recommend blending up the agua fresca and giving it a taste, and then adding extra sweetener if needed.) I always keep extra bottles of SimplyNature Organic Light Agave Nectar from ALDI stocked in my pantry to make these…and maybe my famous margaritas. So good!
In Mexico, it’s also traditional to add in a good squeeze of lime juice to give it an extra-zesty kick, which I love.
Then blend everything up until it’s completely smooth and free of chunks.
At this point, you can either strain out the agua fresca through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the pulp and have a nice smooth juice. Or — as I like to do — you can leave the pulp (and all of that good fiber) in there, and serve the juice up with that extra pulp-y froth on top. Up to you.
Either way, the result is a wonderful, fresh, and oh-so-delicious fruity drink that I imagine everyone — even the pickiest of eaters — will enjoy. Perfect for picnics, perfect for special occasions (hint hint: these would be great for Memorial Day this weekend), or as is the custom in Latin America, perfect for regular everyday meals. :)
So the next time you’re at ALDI, gather up your favorite fresh fruits (you all know about my pineapple obsession there)…
Add fruit and water and lime juice (if using) to a blender, and pulse until smooth.
Taste, and add in your desired amount of agave nectar (or your desired sweetener) if needed, and pulse until combined.
Serve immediately over ice. Or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Feel free to blend in any other fresh herbs or ginger or fresh jalapeno (for some kick!) if you’d like to!
This is a sponsored post in partnership with ALDI. It’s no secret that I’ve been a mega fan-girl of ALDI for years, and all opinions here are my own. Thanks for continuing to support the brands who help make this site possible!
I SO love this idea!! And imagine how cute these would be for a Memorial Day picnic! You are brilliant, Ali! :)
Thanks Alexa — we hope you have a great weekend and holiday! :)
I’m in love with Aldi!!! You can’t beat their produce prices ANYWHERE and that’s the majority of what we buy. Living 5 minutes away from Aldi is a dream come true for me! ? I may have to go buy a pineapple today and try your fave refresco
YES, aren’t they awesome?! And yay, we hope you love it! :)
Amazingly fresh, and I couldn’t agree more: Always keep the pulp!
We love agua fresca in our house! My husband is from D.R. and I lived in Miami for 10 years, it’s a staple in the summer.
That’s awesome Britt! :D
What a great story! These would be perfect through the hot summer months. Can’t wait to try them!
Yeah, they’re so fruity and refreshing, we think you’ll love them! :)
Wow this is so beautiful! Perfect for the holiday weekend coming up!
Thanks Julia — we hope you enjoy, and that you have a fantastic weekend! :)
This sounds so much better than regular fruit smoothies. I can’t wait to give it a try! My husband spent a lot of time in Spain and South America, so I’ll have to see if this is something he had while he was there. Thanks for the recipe! And I am a major Aldi’s fan too. Everything is so dang cheap and delicious!
Thanks Charlsi — we hope you and your husband enjoy! :)
Hello Ali –
I found your website a few months ago and love it. I just wanted to say hello and the next time you are in Costa Rica, please let me know and maybe we can hook up. I have lived here for 10 years, originally from San Francisco and was so delighted to see that you have spent some time here. Take care and I am off to your website to see what I can find ;-))
Hey Carolina! That’s so cool that you live in Costa Rica. That country (and especially the people there) hold such a special place in my heart. If I end up going back again, I’ll be sure to reach out! In the meantime, please eat so much of that amazing Costa Rican pineapple for me. ;)
Passion Fruit was always my favorite kind. This will be cute to even make in red, white and blue for the holiday. I think I have what I’m going to cook with my niece and nephew this weekend without overheating the house. Thanks for sharing.
We think that’s an awesome idea Ronda! We hope you have a wonderful weekend! :)
This looks delicious! I’m sad to say that I’ve never had the homemade kind.
Oh man, you’ll get hooked — they’re SO good! :)
Gee, Ali, you missed what I think has to be the best one – tamarindo. :-) I love the flavor of tamarind, and have enjoyed tamarind candy. I have actually never made tamarindo, just Jamaica (hibiscus flower). One day soon, I”ll have to try it (but I bet my husband wouldn’t like it either…) Glad you posted some general directions for making aguas frescas.
Oh my goodness, we’ll definitely have to experiment with that one! :)
Wow, these sound incredible! I love the idea of incorporating lime or jalepeno and will definitely be making this for the holiday weekend!
Thanks Corinne — we hope you enjoy them and the you have a fantastic weekend! :)
i haven’t ever tried agua fresca before! but it looks so perfect for summer and i just love the colours Xx
Oh man, it’s unreal! We hope you can give it a try sometime — it’s so perfect for summer! :)
The very last word in the recipe should be “to” and not “too.” But great recipe!
Oops, thanks for catching that Viki — we just fixed it!
I just tried agua fresca at Blaze (pizza place similar to Chipotle)! It was delish! My favorite flavor was lemon mint!!
Ooooh, love the idea of adding mint. Sounds so refreshing! :)
Thank you Maria! We hope you can this sometime!
This looks so fantastic! Do you think frozen fruit would work? I’ve got cherries that want to be a drink!
Watermelon is AMAZING!!! Super after a long run or work out.
So fun to read this post, Ali! I spent 8 months in Costa Rica after graduating high school and each of the refrescos you wrote about, I’m completely familiar with! It really was a surprise every morning to see what we were going to be enjoying that day :)
Such gorgeous pictures! Great idea to use up not so sweet fruits.
Thanks Maria — we hope you get to try one of these sometime soon! :)
Wow these photos!!! You did a great job girl!!!
Thanks for your sweet words Meiko — we appreciate that!
This is the second time I’ve seen Agua Fresca on a blog this week, BUT I’ll say I like your rendition with agave much, much better. Can’t wait to give these a go :D
Thanks Josh — we appreciate that! We hope you can try one of these soon! :)
Looks tasty and refreshing. Perfect for summer mornings.
My grandmother would make these for us to use up all the mangoes and plums, etc. but she would add a dash of Angostura Aromatic Bitters and Almond Essence. To Die 4, For Sure!
Very cool Carolyn, and we bet the bitters are awesome in these! :)
I spent 2 weeks in Costa Rica on a study abroad program during College. I loved all of the fresh fruit that was served with every meal, and those fresh fruit juices (I guess I didn’t know they had a name haha). This post is great! Thanks for sharing. And gorgeous photos, love the rainbow!! :)
Very cool Emily, we bet that was an incredible experience! :D
This looks like an easy recipe to follow, definitely pretty colors.
Thanks Candice — we hope you enjoy!
I bought fresh pineapple and mango’s and some blueberries also papaya but, froze them all was afraid they would ruin before I used them all. Does the fruit in this recipe have to be fresh or can I use the fresh frozen fruit I have. This sounds great and so easy :)
Hi Deborah! We think this definitely works best with fresh fruit. Perhaps you could use a mixture of fresh and frozen though?
You’re welcome, Ellie — we hope you enjoy!
Strawberry is so good! Just slurped the last sip ☺! I will try pineapple soon! Thank you!
Thanks, Diane, we’re happy you liked it!
Enjoyed the memory you shared. I used to be obsessed with eating guananbana and tamarindo straight out of the pod. Such great memories when living in Puerto Rico. Thank you for sharing.