Project Description

Cantaloupe Agua Fresca

Recipe Icons-02
6 Servings
Recipe Icons-01
Difficulty Level
Active Prep
Active Prep
15 min
Total Time
Total Time
15 minutes

Beat the heat. Agua fresca or “Fresh water” fruit drinks are an everyday accompaniment to meals in Mexico. Using local fruits of the season, they make a refreshing sipper to wash away the dry, dusty days. Our cantaloupe agua fresca is a little more elaborate ⁠— sweetened with an infused simple syrup and topped off with seltzer and a fresh garnish. We like to be fancy. Sometimes.

This drink pairs well with some fresh prosciutto.


for the basil-lime syrup

Combine the sugar, water, basil leaves and lime zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let syrup cool completely. Strain.

for the aqua fresca

Working in batches in a blender, puree the cantaloupe with the water, 1/2 cup basil-lime syrup, lime juice and salt until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids. Taste and add up to 1/4 cup additional basil-lime syrup if you’d like it sweeter. Transfer to a pitcher and chill, or serve right away.

Fill 6 glasses with ice. Divide the agua fresca between the glasses and top off with sparkling water. Garnish with basil sprigs and lime slices, if desired.


basil-lime syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest

agua fresca

  • 1 ripe canteloupe, about 2¾ pounds, cut into 1-inch chunks and chilled
  • 2 cups ice-cold water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup basil-lime syrup (recipe above)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 large lime)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Ice
  • 1 to 2 cups sparkling water, chilled
  • Fresh basil sprigs, for garnish (optional)
  • Lime slices, for garnish (optional)

special equipment

  • blender
  • fine mesh strainer
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