cantaloupe-basil agua fresca

by Amy on 24 July 2012

in the warm weather, i’m all about fresh fruits + veggies. the other day, during a quick trip to the grocery store, the fresh melons were calling to me. the cantaloupe looked especially inviting, so i got one, hoping i’d find something interesting to do with it. sure enough, when i started looking up recipes, there were tons of awesome dishes + drinks, like this cantaloupe-basil agua fresca.

this drink is absolutely perfect for this hot summer weather! it’s cool, crisp + refreshing, + perfectly balanced. the sweet cantaloupe pairs wonderfully with the aromatic, slightly peppery basil. and while this is great just as it is, it would be fantastic made into a cocktail, using either vodka or rum.

and, an awesome trick i learned when i made watermelon-basil margaritas? when you make a delicious drink, the last thing you want is for it to get watered down due to melting ice cubes. that recipe called for using frozen watermelon cubes instead of ice cubes, + i used the same technique here. i popped a couple of cantaloupe balls in the freezer for a few hours. + voila! a pretty, effective alternative to ice cubes that’ll cool your drink without watering it down. pretty fab, right?

cantaloupe-basil agua fresca

makes 4 servings, adapted from bon appetit


7 cups chopped fresh cantaloupe (from one 3.5 pound melon)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves


working in batches, purée cantaloupe in a blender until smooth.

set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl or pitcher; strain purée into bowl or pitcher (you should have about 2.5 cups juice).

add lemon juice, basil, + 1 cup cold water to the pitcher. let steep at room temperature for 1–2 hours. fill four glasses with ice + divide agua fresca among glasses.

nutritional information per serving, as provided by bon appetit:
servings per recipe: 4 • calories: 110 • fat: .5 g • protein: 3 g
carb: 27 g • fiber: 3 g • sodium: 50 mg • sugar: 23 g

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathryn July 24, 2012 at 8:46 am

That’s a great tip to use the frozen fruit as ice cubes, I hate watered down drinks! This looks super refreshing and just perfect for summer, gorgeous!

2 Jackie @ Domestic Fits July 24, 2012 at 10:41 am

This looks perfect! I’m not a huge fan of eating cantaloupe, but I love it juiced. Beautiful :)

3 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious July 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

Cantaloupe is one of my absolute favorite fruits ever! Will definitely be making this when I get my hands on some of these melons.

4 Anna @ hiddenponies July 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

The colour of this is stunning, I love finding different ways to enjoy cantaloupe!

5 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl July 24, 2012 at 11:25 am

This is simply gorgeous! I LOVE the vibrant color of the drink, and using frozen melon balls in lieu of ice cubes. This is a perfect summer sipper.

6 sally @ sallys baking addiction July 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Amy, what a DEEEELISH combination. I once had a basil + cantaloupe salad when I visited Italy a few years ago and the pairing is spot-on. I’d love to make this refreshing drink to bring me back :)

7 Joanna@DrizzleofSunshine July 24, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Great picture! Looks so refreshing. I love cantaloupe in the summer. There is a filipino drink that is just shreds of cantaloupe, sugar, and ice. Always hits the spot.

8 amy July 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm

ooh, that drink sounds fantastic, joanna – i’ll have to try making something like that soon!

9 Ashley@BakerbyNature July 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Oh giiirrrrlllllll – I need a whole pitcher of these beauties up in my life right now! Love this!

10 Cassie July 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I must try this! I love herbs with fruit, I bet this is amazing!

11 Ali | Gimme Some Oven July 24, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Mmmm…these look SO refreshing!!!

12 Julie @ Table for Two July 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

this is so beautiful and genius, Amy! I love that you made the cantaloupe balls into ice balls!! that is seriously so smart — i guess that’s kinda like how they make iced coffee cubes! hehe, this would be such an awesome drink to have on a blistering hot day! what a refreshing drink you’ve shared with us :)

13 Choc Chip Uru July 25, 2012 at 6:19 am

How beautiful my friend, so refreshing 😀

Choc Chip Uru

14 Kristen @ notsodomesticated July 25, 2012 at 6:40 am

Oh my goodness … I cannot believe you linked up a recipe for watermelon margaritas today! I just shared on my blog about how I had one in Italy and how amazing it was. I need to try yours asap!!

15 amy July 25, 2012 at 6:44 am

great coincidence, right?! i hope you love the margaritas if you try making them at home!

16 Renee July 25, 2012 at 6:54 am

What a great summer beverage! I need to pick up some cataloupes from the market and make this. Love the basil in it. Great tip of the frozen fruit for ice cubes.

17 danielle July 25, 2012 at 8:11 am

This looks great and so refreshing.

18 Rikki July 25, 2012 at 8:16 am

I really like those frozen cantaloupe cubes, that is the best idea! I’m practically drooling over this cantaloupe, lemon juice and basil combination. I could use basil in everything, I love it so much, especially the flavor it adds to drinks. Yum!

19 Megan {Country Cleaver} July 25, 2012 at 8:44 am

o.O that is a fabulously fresh drink there Amy!! It’s beautiful!

20 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef July 25, 2012 at 8:50 am

i love the sound of this! my favorite way to eat cantaloupe (besides just straight up) is in a smoothie. vanilla yogurt, milk/oj, cantaloupe, 1/2 banana, & some fresh mint. amazing!

21 amy July 25, 2012 at 9:06 am

you know i love my smoothies, so i will absolutely have to try that! bonus: we grow our own mint so I can just hop into the backyard to get that ingredient. =)

22 Meghan July 25, 2012 at 9:24 am

Gorgeous drink Amy and I love the cantaloupe cubes!

23 ea-the spicy rd July 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

Yay! Another delicious recipe to try! Brings back good memories of a trip to Punta de Mita 2 years ago :-)

24 Jed Gray (sportsglutton) July 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Absolutely awesome and refreshing looking drink Amy…and I’d even enjoy it without the any booze added!! :-)

25 amy July 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm

it is great booze-free, but it would be even more fantastic with a splash of vodka or rum, or even some sparkling white wine in there! will have to try that soon. =)

26 Alison @ ingredients, Inc. July 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

love this! So creative

27 claire @ the realistic nutritionist July 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm


28 natalie@thesweetslife July 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

this is absolutely GORGEOUS!

29 Baking Serendipity July 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I’ve been loving snacking on cold cantaloupe after long runs lately, but never thought to use it in a drink. I love this!

30 Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee July 26, 2012 at 8:07 am

Looks gorgeous + yummy. Never thought of combining cantaloupe with basil, but it sounds delicious. Beautiful picture.

31 Lesley Eats July 26, 2012 at 9:12 am

Love the melon ball ice cu…I mean, balls!

32 Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel July 26, 2012 at 10:54 am

I love me some canteloupe! And melon agua fresca is one of my faves–such a unique, refreshing idea for melons!

33 Marta @ What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? July 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

This drink looks so refreshing. I’d try it straight away, it’s so hot over here, the only thing is that it’s almost midnight and all the stores are closed.

34 wendy (the weekend gourmet) July 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

LOVE cantaloupe…this looks so pretty AND refreshing! Did I ever tell you that I had a cat once who ADORED cantaloupe? He was so funny!

35 amy July 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm

a cantaloupe-loving cat, eh? too funny! i offered some to Skylardog but she turned up her nose at it. she does love oranges, which i always find strange!

36 Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings July 27, 2012 at 12:16 am

I’m entirely not clear what agua fresca is. Is this basically juice? No matter, I LOVE cantaloupe – so do my kids. We will be having a ball with this one! Can’t wait to make this refreshing drink, especially that we are having high temps here in Toronto lately.

37 amy July 27, 2012 at 5:14 am

agua fresca literally means ‘fresh water’ in spanish – essentially, it’s fresh fruit that’s blended with water + sometimes sugar. so basically, yep, juice!

38 val July 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

I think I need this drink in my life.

39 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts July 27, 2012 at 11:21 am

Perfectly refreshing for the summer! Love the use of cantaloupe!

40 Sammie July 27, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Hey Amy!! That’s a fabulous idea! Who woulda thunk of frozen cubes of watermelon / cantaloupe balls! Yeah, I don’t like watered down drinks too! Great trick! And yes, this looks really refreshing for the summer!

41 Erin @ Texanerin Baking July 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It’s so pretty! And I love the frozen fruit tip. I would have never thought of that. :)

42 Margaret Garcia July 27, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Cool blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Kudos

43 Marina July 28, 2012 at 4:42 am

Girl, it looks great, as always!!

44 Katie B. of July 30, 2012 at 2:11 pm

no booze? Amy, what’s wrong with the world if you’re posting a beverage recipe with no booze!?!

Still, I’m going to try this tonight. I’ll add it to my vodka. :)

45 amy July 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm

i’m kicking myself that i didn’t think to add in some of the lemon vodka we had in the house. next time!

46 Amy (Savory Moments) July 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Wow! What an amazing color! Who wouldn’t want to drink this? It looks fantastic.

47 Jocelyn @BruCrew Life August 1, 2012 at 12:16 am

Oh, I love the frozen fruit cubes to chill this awesome looking drink!!! I can almost taste it from your pictures:-)

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