A Thought For Food » where ideas are brought to simmer

Recipe: Pineapple-Ginger Agua Fresca

When one thinks of ways to relax, most people can agree that sitting on a beach with a cocktail puts us in the right frame of mind.  But some of us don’t have access to such things (the beach, that is) and we must resort to using our imagination.  It helps, of course, to come up with a fun libation to take the edge off after a long week at work.

The problem that I tend to have is finding a fresh, fruity (though not overly sweet) cocktail that isn’t going to leave me with the feeling that my teeth are rotting. When I came across this recipe for Pinaepple-Ginger Agua Fresca, I knew I had found the perfect base for my drink.

A popular beverage in Mexico, agua fresca, which literally means “fresh (cold) water”, is a mixture of water, fruit puree, and sugar.  It is light and thirst-quenching, making it a great beverage to serve at a BBQ.  It also pairs nicely with a variety of liquor (which I was happy to test for this post), including vodka, rum, and, my personal favorite, tequila.  

I found this recipe to be particularly wonderful because it includes fresh ginger.  This added a lovely kick that gave the beverage some depth.  There are two suggestions that I want to make regarding this recipe: 1) use more ginger (two tablespoons isn’t nearly enough) and 2) leave the pureed bits in with the liquid.  Towards the end of the process, the directions say to strain the mixture.  I found that a lot of the flavor left the drink when I did this, so I poured the puree back in.    

An added touch of agave nectar doesn’t hurt either.  It doesn’t need much, but it helps sweeten it up slightly.

But no matter how you prepare it, you can’t go wrong with this beverage.  Its refreshing, tropical flavor will put you right there on the beach… even if you’re in the middle of a bustling city.

Pineapple-Ginger Agua Fresca
(Notes from Bon Appetit: Agua fresca (Spanish for “fresh water”) is a Mexican drink infused with fruits, seeds, or flowers. This one combines the sweetness of pineapple with the spice of fresh ginger. Want to kick the party up a notch? Add a little vodka or tequila. Garnish with pineapple spears.) 

Additional note from A Thought For Food: In case you missed the note above, I’d suggest including more ginger… a lot more ginger.  And I left the majority of the puree in the mixture because I enjoy having things to chew on (is that strange?) 


5 cups 1-inch cubes peeled ripe pineapple (from 1 large pineapple)  
4 cups water, divided  
1/2 cup sugar  
2 teaspoons (or more) grated peeled fresh ginger 
Ice cubes  
Fresh basil leaves, chopped (optional)
Agave nectar, to taste (optional)

Ingredient info 
Choose a golden yellow pineapple that smells sweet and yields very slightly to the touch.  

Puree pineapple, 1 cup water, and sugar in blender in batches until smooth. Pour into 8-cup measuring cup. Mix in 3 cups water and 2 teaspoons ginger. Cover; chill until cold, about 4 hours. Strain pineapple mixture into pitcher, pressing on solids in strainer. Add more ginger to taste. Fill tall glasses with ice. Pour agua fresca over.

Additional Directions:
If you choose to dazzle it up a bit, add a bit of your alcohol of choice (vodka, rum, tequila… all three), a little agave nectar and some basil leaves. 

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  • KenJuly 23, 2010 - 11:25 am

    You got two of my favorite ingredients all in one refreshing beverage. I can drink the entire pitcher of this refreshing elixir. Now you know what to serve me at your party.ReplyCancel

  • bunkycooksJuly 23, 2010 - 11:59 am

    Maybe we can have one of these when I come to Boston! I like the ginger and bet it gives it a nice kick.ReplyCancel

  • JoanneJuly 23, 2010 - 12:22 pm

    I am quite the fan of libations after the end of a workweek. Especially when that workweek has included a broken oven and now a broken cell phone. And even especially more when that libation includes ginger. Loads of ginger.

    This looks so refreshing!ReplyCancel

  • IsabelleJuly 23, 2010 - 1:02 pm

    Yum! I had a cocktail a while ago that had a ginger/pineapple base, and ever since then I've been a HUGE fan of the combination. Now I just need to find a reasonably ripe pineapple on the way home, so that I can make this right away… :)ReplyCancel

  • Andrew FrishmanJuly 23, 2010 - 2:32 pm

    MMnnn! – I l o v e s me some agua fresca.

    Sin embargo, creo que la mayor parte del agua que bebe la gente está fresco. . . Por favor trabaje sobre los usos adicionales de jugo de almejas – ¡que es el agua de los dioses!ReplyCancel

  • MonetJuly 23, 2010 - 4:39 pm

    So whenever we live next door to each other, you will need to make these for the four of us every Friday night. Of course, we can make some seasonal adaptations, but you will be the official drink maker. This looks so refreshing, Brian, and I wish I could have one to cap of my Friday!ReplyCancel

  • Fun and Fearless in BeantownJuly 23, 2010 - 7:50 pm

    This looks fabulous! Perfect post to read before heading into the weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Lawyer Loves LunchJuly 23, 2010 - 8:30 pm

    I'm from Texas where agua fresca abounds in the summer… but I have never seen agua fresca as sophisticated as this! Yay for the end of the week!ReplyCancel

  • SMITH BITESJuly 23, 2010 - 11:48 pm

    Wowzuh! You know we'll be making this at Smith Bites before the end of summer . . . which sadly, isn't too far away . ..ReplyCancel

  • SixthirtythreeJuly 24, 2010 - 2:30 am

    What a pretty drink. I hope the recipe is in the index. Yum-mi!ReplyCancel

  • FrenchPressMemosJuly 24, 2010 - 2:37 am

    Oh summer drinks! So refreshing, creative, and cool! Tequilla or rum for sure in this!ReplyCancel

  • Chef DennisJuly 24, 2010 - 2:53 am

    now that sounds so very refreshing!! I do love basil too, just the fragrance makes me smile!ReplyCancel

  • Angie's RecipesJuly 24, 2010 - 1:51 pm

    A very refreshing summer cocktail! Wouldn't it be great to serve some at pool bbq party!ReplyCancel

  • Veggie BellyJuly 24, 2010 - 3:26 pm

    Teaism in washington DC makes the best ginger lemonade. It always reminds me of how wonderful ginger can be in cold drinks. I love this pineapple ginger drink.ReplyCancel

  • Veggie BellyJuly 24, 2010 - 3:28 pm

    p.s: i will take that with rum please!ReplyCancel

  • LirenJuly 24, 2010 - 10:20 pm

    What a fantastic way to wind down after a long week. Love the idea of adding a little alcoholic kick to such a refreshing beverage. I could see making a ginger simple syrup and using that to sweeten the drink :) Beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Sippity SupJuly 25, 2010 - 12:45 am

    "Something to chew on"… I knew I liked you. GREGReplyCancel

  • penny aka jeroxieJuly 25, 2010 - 1:14 pm

    Looks so refreshing! Love to have one of those now.ReplyCancel

  • doggybloggyJuly 25, 2010 - 3:14 pm

    hey almost every one I know is here – how come I am always the last to find out everything? this ginger delight looks certainly refreshing!ReplyCancel

  • CristinaJuly 25, 2010 - 6:38 pm

    Wow – that's a beautiful looking drink and those basil leaves are gorgeous. Using fresh ginger must really be fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Pacheco PattyJuly 25, 2010 - 9:20 pm

    Hi Brian, I saw your blog mentioned on Monet's site and I like her so much that I wanted to come over and check out your blog and just say Hi.
    Your drink looks refreshing and delicious, I'll have to try it, thanks, PattyReplyCancel

  • jacobskitchenJuly 25, 2010 - 11:21 pm

    Wow. Sounds amazing. I just made some cantaloupe aguas frescas this morning. So refreshing! But with ginger… sounds like a great combination. I will have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing =)ReplyCancel

  • Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet }July 26, 2010 - 12:59 am

    Now that is a refreshing drink and perfect way to wind down from a long week. A splash of vodka would make it just perfect. Great photos!ReplyCancel

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