Look no further than this cucumber lime agua fresca for a refreshing and hydrating drink. It uses simple ingredients and is perfect for hot days. You can have a large pitcher prepared in the fridge all day. Serve it cold with mint leaves and sweeten it more or less according to your palate.
This is our favorite flavored water to drink during the Summer. A true thirst-quencher!
We keep a pitcher or two in the refrigerator during scorching days, together with old-fashioned homemade lemonade.
The taste intensifies as the hours go by and the cucumber, mint and lime slices release more flavor. You can choose not to add extra ingredients to the pitcher and avoid it becoming too strong.
In that case, only add a slice of lime and cucumber to the glasses when you serve this agua fresca.
The mint can also be added to the glass and not to the pitcher for a barely there minty flavor.
What is agua fresca?
Agua fresca translates to fresh water in Spanish.
And though it can be used literally, in this case it means that you lightly flavored it. It's not juice or plain water. It's water with a mild flavor.
- Cucumbers: you can use any type. English cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers, are popular due to their mild flavor and minimal seeds.
- Limes: they're in season on Spring and Summer, making them perfect for this drink.
- Fresh mint leaves: if you can't find good-flavored mint, I suggest you don't use it as it can add a weird taste to the water.
- Sugar or other sweetener: optional.
See the recipe card towards the end of this post for quantities.
How to choose cucumbers
- Look for firmness: choose firm cucumbers that give slightly when gently squeezed. Avoid those that are soft, mushy, or have wrinkled skin, as they may indicate spoilage.
- Check for smooth skin: avoid ones with cuts, bruises, or yellow patches, as these can be signs of damage or overripeness.
- Size: smaller cucumbers tend to be crisper, while larger ones may have more seeds.
- Freshness: buy them seasonally, which can vary depending on the type of cucumber. There's no better place than the farmer's market or similar places where they sell fresh, seasonal produce.
How to make cucumber lime water
- Make an infusion first: slice cucumbers and limes and add them to a jar of fresh water. Let it be for an hour or more until they release flavor. Strain into the pitcher you'll be serving it in, and add some lime and cucumber slices, ice and a sweetener if desired. Stir, and you have your cucumber lime agua fresca ready to drink!
- Quick agua fresca: fill a pitcher with fresh water, ice, cucumber and lime slices, a few sprigs of fresh mint and serve it right away. It will have little flavor at the beginning but will intensify as the hours go by.
- Sweeteners: it's optional and can be any type you want. You can use granulated, organic, cane or brown sugar, but it can be harder to dissolve completely so we recommend making a simple syrup made with sugar and water, like we do for the red wine sangria and classic lemonade. Alternatively, a touch of honey or agave syrup can add a unique twist.
Should I peel the cucumber before adding it to the water?
Not necessarily, but it's a matter of personal preference. Wash them well and slice. The peel or skin contains additional nutrients and adds texture to the water.
However, if you prefer a smoother drink or are concerned about any bitterness that it might have, peel it before slicing. It's entirely up to you and your desired taste and texture for your cucumber water.
How long does cucumber lime water last?
Cucumber lime water is best consumed within 24 hours for optimal flavor and freshness. After that time, the flavors may weaken, and the water might lose some crispness.
It's recommended to store the infused water in the refrigerator to maintain its quality. If you notice any changes in taste or smell, or if the water becomes cloudy, it's a sign that it's no longer fresh and should be discarded.
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The quantities are a guide, as this recipe can be easily adapted to your preference. Add more or less of any ingredient.
- 2 limes, sliced
- 1 large cucumber, sliced
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves, optional
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 3-4 cups fresh water
- 1-2 tablespoons simple syrup or honey, optional
For the simple syrup:
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
Two ways of making this flavored water. In both cases, place thin lime or cucumber slices with mint leaves in the glasses before serving. If you like it unsweetened, omit the syrup.
Infuse the ingredients first:
- Add lime and cucumber slices to a jar (I use a large measuring jar)
- Fill with fresh water to about 2 inches over the ingredient line.
- Stir and refrigerate for 1 hour. Check the flavor and infuse longer if desired. The flavor must be strong as it will be diluted when the rest of the water is added.
- Strain into a large pitcher.
- Add ice, fresh cucumber and lime slices.
- Sweeten according to your taste, and add some mint leaves if desired.
Make a quick cucumber lime water:
- Add ice and water in a large pitcher, leaving 2-3 inches of space at the top.
- Add lime and cucumber slices and mint leaves, if desired.
- Stir and serve immediately. It will have little flavor initially and intensify as the hours go by.
For the simple syrup:
You can choose not to sweeten it at all and omit this syrup.
- Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve.
- Cook over medium heat until it comes to a boil.
- Remove from heat and let cool before using.
- Keep refrigerated in an airtight jar. It lasts indefinitely.
- How to choose cucumbers: look for firm ones that slightly give when pressed with smooth skin, no blemishes, or rough or yellow patches.
- Peeling cucumbers: Not necessarily, but it's a matter of personal preference. Wash them well and slice. The peel or skin contains additional nutrients and adds texture to the water. However, if you prefer a smoother drink or are concerned about any bitterness that it might have, peel it before slicing. It's entirely up to you and your desired taste and texture for your cucumber water.
- Storage: cucumber lime water is best consumed within 24 hours for optimal flavor and freshness. After that time, the flavors may weaken, and the water might lose some crispness. It's recommended to store the infused water in the refrigerator to maintain its quality. If you notice any changes in taste or smell, or if the water becomes cloudy, it's a sign that it's no longer fresh and should be discarded.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Mixing
- Cuisine: International
Keywords: cucumber lime water, agua fresca