Aguas Frescas

Brighten up spring days with refreshing aguas frescas.

Made with just puréed fruit, water, a little sugar and sometimes herbs, flowers or seeds, aguas frescas offer a vibrant pop of fresh flavor.

“The goal is to have the most naturally tasting product possible, so go very light with the sugar,” says Kyle Harlan, beverage director at Mission Taco Joint in St. Louis. “It’s intended to cut the bitterness of fruit that may be a little unripe, not to create a sugary syrup.”

Although aguas frescas are terrific sans booze, adding a shot of rum, vodka, mezcal or tequila takes them from refreshing daytime sippers to cooling cocktails. We caught up with five local bartenders who regularly make agua fresca cocktails at work to learn how to make fun takes on frescas and fresca cocktails at home.

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When Rose Hansen isn’t out chasing stories, she lives like a pioneer woman (of sorts) on a cattle farm in McDonald County, where she also practices a love/hate relationship with gardening.

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