Mexico in my Kitchen: Aguas Frescas (Mexican Fruit Drinks): Jamaica Flower, Tamarind and Horchata|Authentic Mexican Food Recipes Traditional Blog

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Aguas Frescas (Mexican Fruit Drinks): Jamaica Flower, Tamarind and Horchata

Agua de Jamaica1 Mexicoinmykitchen

Aguas Frescas are our favorite everyday drinks even with  the booming soft drink industry in México that  slowly but surely is taking this form of quenching your thirst away from our culture and traditions, unfortunately. You can still find these drinks being sold at commercial centers or at the downtown’s main streets and markets. You can see this link to get an idea of the drink stands. Aguas Frescas in Mexico
The flavors are unique, delicious and endless; being the most common: Jamaica, Horchata, Tamarindo, Piña (Pineapple), Melón (Cantaloupe), Limón (Lime) and Sandía (Watermelon). Each region in the country has its own versions of Aguas Frescas using the local fruits, like guayabas (guavas), plátanos (bananas), fresas (strawberries), Mango, naranjas (oranges), pepinos (cucumber), pitaya fruit, Guanábana,  local plums also known as ciruelas and Jobos… well I know you get the idea. Mostly whatever is in season to take advantage of the sweetness of the fruit. We love to make drinks using the bounty around us. An Agua Fresca is an easy combination of fruit, sugar, water and ice. Some of this drinks also have added milk.

NOTE: Before adding sugar, taste to adjust to your personal taste. Maybe you would like more or less sugar.  If you feel the consistency of the drink is too thick or dense for your palate, just add more water.

Agua de Jamaica / Hibiscus Flowers Drink
Jamaica (Hibiscus) Flowers are used in different parts of the world to make a cold or hot tea sweetened with sugar. There has been some Medical studies which indicate that it lowers high blood pressure and also has diuretic effects. The flavor is on the tart side similar to a cranberry juice. In México, it is also used for granites, ice pops and sangria. Of the many Aguas Frescas, this in particular is my favorite because of its tart fruity flavor and it is very easy to prepare too.

Ingredients for 2 quarts *of Jamaica Drink

  • 1 ¼ cup of Hibiscus Jamaica Flowers
  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 cups of water to make 2 quarts of the final drink
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • Ice cubes

1. Place the flowers in a small pot with the 3 cups of water. Bring them to a boil. Boil them for about 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat.
2. Set aside for at least 4 hours, you can also make this step overnight.
3. Strain the liquid into a pitcher and add the 4 cups of water and sugar. You can adjust the added water if you feel it is to tart to your palate.

Stir, add ice cubes and let it chill. Enjoy.

Agua de Tamarindo / Tamarind Drink
These sour pods after being soaked in water and strained produce a pulp used for cold drinks, hot drinks like Atole, ice cream, popsicles and as a sauce for some dishes in Mexico. Here in the States it is sold in Asian, Indian, Caribbean and African markets since is widely know in these cultures.


In Mexico it is also used to confection a sweet treat made of the pulp and sugar then rolled to form a small ball coated with sugar or dried powdered piquin pepper.
For the medicinal uses and properties of Tamarind you can click HERE.

Ingredients enough to make 2 quarts*

  • 2 cups of tamarind pods (8 ounces)
  • 8 cups of water
  • ½ cup of sugar or more if needed

1. Peel the Tamarind pods making sure to remove must of the shells.
2. In a medium size pot place the tamarind pots with 4 cups of water.
Bring to a boil for about 2 minutes.
3. Set aside and let it steep for about 2 hours. Tamarind pulp should look soft.
4. Strain the pulp into a wide mouth glass pitcher using a colander or fine sieve. For this you will need to your hands in order to get as much of the pulp through the sieve. You will be left with only the seed and veins in the sieve. The rest of the pulp will be in the pitcher.
5. Now, add the sugar and the remaining water. Refrigerate and serve with ice cubes. And remember to stir the drink before serving

.Horchata de Arroz2@mexicoinmykitchen
Agua de Horchata / Rice and Cinnamon Drink

Horchata in Mexico is usually made of rice, cinnamon and vanilla. In the south of the country you can also find the Almond and coconut Horchata and in some regions in Central Mexico there is an Horchata made of dried Cantaloupe seeds. Some cooks use milk in the drink and others prefer not to add it. I like to add 1 cup of whole milk.

Ingredients for 3 quarts* of Horchata

  • 2 cups of long grain rice
  • 1 stick of Mexican cinnamon
  • 4 cups of hot water
  • 6-8 cups of extra water to finish the drink
  • 1 cup of milk (OPTIONAL)
  • ¾ cup of sugar or more if you like your drinks sweeter
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • Ice cubes

Horchata de Arroz@Mexicoinmykitchen
1. Place the rice and cinnamon stick in a large glass bowl and cover with the 4 cups of hot water. Cover with a dish or plastic wrap and let it soak overnight.

2. The next day place the rice and cinnamon with the water in your blander and process until it becomes a smooth watery paste.

3. Using a colander strain the mixture into a wide mouth pitcher stirring the mixture to help the liquid to pass through.

4. Add milk if using, vanilla and the rest of the water. Stir in sugar to your taste. Refrigerate. Stir before serving since the rice mix tends to settle at the bottom. Serve with ice cubes.

¡Buen provecho!... and keep enjoying your Summer and the many things it brings to your life!



  1. Thanks Mely! I do love aguas frescas, mi favorita es la de jamaica(aparte de que es super buen diuretico)tambien la de tamarindo, pero no tanto como la de horchata, OMG! creo que todas nos gustan aqui en casa. Gracias por la receta de la de horchata, esa es la unica que no sabia preparar y ahora con este verano tan extremadamente caluroso aqui en Texas,nos caen de maravilla.


  2. Muchas gracias!!!! En China no puedo conseguir la flor de Jamaica pero si los ingredientes para hacer agua de Tamarindo y de Horchata!!!!!!

  3. aaahhh, Mely, ya se me quitó la sed!


    PS: acabo de tomar una deliciosa agua de mango :-)

  4. que rico Mely, hace tiempo que no tomo agua de me antojo mucho. Voy a tener que prepararla este fin :) GRACIAS :)

  5. Nice post Mely! My favorite agua fresca is also jamaica. I brew mine under the sun as you would sun tea, and I like it without sugar. My second favorite is tamarindo. Your aguas look so refreshing!

  6. These would be the perfect way to cool off on a hot day! They look delicious and refreshing!

  7. Cuantas bebidas tan ricas, la de tamarindo es mi favorita :)

  8. Mmmmm.... qué lindas fotos y hasta acá se siente el calor eh?
    cómo están??? te extraño :)
    Mi preferida? la de jamaica, la puedo tomar diario,siempre, me encanta... !!!
    un beso

  9. Do you home school, Mely? I didn't know that. There's something else we have in common.

    When my son was younger, I chose to make aguas frescas or Italian sodas (club soda and a tiny splash of Torani syrup) for him as a treat instead of commercial sodas. Much less sugar and far more refreshing.

  10. Yes Kirby. But our vacation is over this weekend. :(
    School starts Monday.

    Stay cool!

  11. Hi Mely! These all look so refreshing. My favorites are horchata and watermelon. Hope you're enjoying your summer!

  12. I grew up drinking these drinks with my own family. My family is Mexican and "coke" was an unspoken word in her house. This reminds me of home, which sometimes feels very far away.

  13. All these drinks looks so refreshing. I love the Hibiscus best. We make it from time to time. There's a big jar full of Hibiscus, I just have to make it. You made me thirsty Mely. :)) Have a great day tomorrow. Take care and hope you are doing good.

  14. lovely site we make the tamarind and hibiscus drink
    I haven't had the rice cinnamon drink looks wonderful

  15. love these drinks and I am with u on the heat he he keep praying I go into labor naturally Mely :-)

  16. first time on your blog, love all the pictures and the drinks - have had the Horchata before but would love to try the others. The picture of the tamarind with its shell took me back to my school days where on our school campus, it grew in great abundance side by side with cashews!!!following you and would love for you to follow my blog too
    Cheers, priya

  17. Hi Mely,
    It is so nice to see you again! I just love the wonderful display of cool refreshing drinks that you brought us to enjoy today. They all look delicious! Hope you are going to have a wonderful week end and thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  18. Ay Mely que maravilla! a mi me gustan todos! cuando hago alguna fiestita en casa hago vitroleros de esos típicos. Me encaaaantan.

  19. I love aguas fescas! Jamaica is my all time!

  20. hi! This looks amazing! I would love for you to come over and link up to my Tasty Tuesday Party...
    Hope to see you and your tasty goodness next week.

  21. Mely,
    que refrescante y bonitas se miran tus aguas.
    you tomo horchata todos los dia. tengo que hacer una orden de aguas de tamarindo. siempre queria ensenarme hacer horchata la que venden aqui no es de polvo y a mi me gusta la de polvo.

    que tengas un buen fin de semana.

  22. I have made the Hibuscus and Horchata before, but never the Tamarindo..looking forward to trying your recipe! :)

  23. Mely,
    gracias por tu commentario amor.
    la cosa es que cambie my blog domain, y eso me causo muchos problemas. hasta ayer mis post se arreglaron. pero the blog link wont update.
    yo creia que sabias que lea cartas.. I been posting a card of the week like for 5 months now.
    I been reading tarot since I was 18.

  24. I fell in love with jamaica in Mexico!! I couldn't get enough of it and it truly is a drink perfect for the summer heat

  25. Sounds great - I remember this now, from when I was in Mexico!

    Would this work okay using brown rice?

  26. Hello Kicka,

    And yes! You can use brown rice, even raw oatmeal like they do in other countries in Central America. Horchata is made of different cereals around the world.

    Thanks for stopping by,


  27. Mely! Me estaba perdiendo de estas maravillosas aguas frescas (qué fotografías, me encantaron!)

    Hoy hago horchata ya que siempre tenemos los ingredientes. Aunque sin reposar el arroz toda la noche. Se me antojó muchísimo con este terrible calor.


  28. Mmmm, deliciosas estas aguas frescas! Tengo que decir que la de orchata es mi favorita :) Presiosas fotos, Mely!



  29. Mely quiero todas tus aguitas, me encantan. Nunca he hecho horchata de arroz, hace mil años las hacía de semilla de melón, pero de arroz nunca. Me voy a animar.
    Un beso

  30. Hey, This is looking so Gud and Appetizing… !A very well made post with beautiful pictures. Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks & Regards, Sonia !!!

  31. MMMM delicious!

    Ideales para este calorcito agobiante jeje, cualquiera de los 3 sabores está excelente, ya viste el agua de avena que tengo en mi blog?

    Precisamente antier preparé agua de jamaica para acompañar unos chilitos rellenos mmm


  32. Replies
    1. Hello Debra,

      Sorry about that. This is my board in Pinterest:

      Thanks for pinning!


  33. Currently living in Guatemala and have enjoyed all of the above. I've been down here many times but, until this visit, had never had the Jamaica. Came out here to see what it was. Definitely my new favorite drink. Coke? what's that?

    1. Thank you for your comment Anciano Deacon, keep enjoying your Agua de Jamaica.


  34. Thank you for this easy beautiful recipe! I use to live in bend,or and you can get horchatas at every taco or Burrito stand. Moved here to tn and couldn't get it anywhere except the premae concentrate that has dairy milk. I don't drink dairy so I made this for the first time and it turned out so deliscioso! I added almond milk and I only add about 4 cups of water and I use 1 tbl of cinnamon. I all so use Mexican vanilla extract. This is so good I make it weekly! Didn't know how easy it was to make horchata. I will never spend all that money at another restaurant. Ty!

  35. Hi!
    A quick question about Horchata.. When you mention Vanilla are you talking about an actual vanilla pod or vanilla essence? Where I live in Brasil I can only find the essence easily.. I had a horchata when I was in LA at a Cuban sandwich shop called Porto's.. Man in was delicious!! Thanks in advance

    1. Hello Luke,

      That will be vanilla essence. Thank you for pointing that out.
      You can also made the Horchata with coconut or almonds. And also a mix of them all.

      Happy cooking!

  36. Can I make the Horchata with brown rice? Love your blog!

    1. Hello Nicole,
      Yes, you canmake Horchata with Brown rice. Horchata can be prepared with several seeds and grains like almonds, coconuts, cantaloupe seeds. Other countries use morro seeds or even sesame seeds.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  37. AMO todos las aguas frescas, soy Americana pero desde 10 anos se me hizo de mexicano, ( no legalmente) pero en mi casa, me aprendi cocinar los platos mas ricos de mexico, y las Aguas era todo que falto aprendir, ya lo hizo de tamarido y jamaica , solo me falto hacerla horchata. Que voy a tartar hoy/manana, en unas dias te lo digo como me salio... MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS MELY!!!!

  38. Gracias Mely por tan ricas recetas, nos encantan las aguas frescas, vamos a hacer la de tamarindo y horchata en paletas de hielo.


    1. Gracias Yolanda,
      Que les queden bien ricas!


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