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Aguas frescas

Two glasses of aguas frescas from Itanoní in Mexico City.

What: Aguas frescas are all-natural drinks made with a combination of fruits (or vegetables, nuts, even flowers) blended with water and sugar and served cold. You can find them all over Mexico, though particular flavors tend to be favorites in certain areas (see Oaxaca’s horchata con tuna). Nutritious, delicious, refreshing—you’d do well to seek these out daily.

Where: Many restaurants, cafes, and market puestos, or stalls, offer agua frescas. The La Michoacana Natural franchise (or any other variation of “La Michoacana,” which you’ll find all over Mexico and in a lot of Mexican communities in the U.S.) sells aguas frescas in addition to its signature paletas. Often you’ll see them lined up in big colorful jugs along a counter in a cafe or market. Our photo is from Oaxaca’s wonderful Itanoní restaurant (Belisario Domínguez 513, Colonia Reforma, map), where we sipped on an agua de jamaica (made with dried, Vitamin C-rich hibiscus flowers) and limón con hierbabuena—a minty, earthy concoction that woke up our taste buds.

Good to know: The difference between an agua fresca and a licuado is the inclusion of milk in the latter (along with fruit, sugar, and sometimes honey and/or nuts), making it a creamier, more smoothie-like drink.


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