Summer Refresher: Aqua Fresca

July 5, 2010

It’s sizzling over here, folks. Hotter than the devil’s butt. As we plow our way through popsicles and lemonade, seeking the shade, I am grateful for just one thing: At least I am not pregnant.

My first summer job as a teenager was manning the cash register at my dad’s gas station. That’s right, readers–I was the girl in the stylish red smock, ringing up cigarettes and cleaning congealed nacho scuzz off formica counters. The glamour.

The manager of the gas station was a woman named Donna, and she was hugely pregnant that summer. Poor Donna was a miserable creature that July and August; her legs blew up like kielbasas and she lumbered around, hands on her sweaty belly, cursing the heat. I tiptoed around her, fearing her wrath. There’s nothing quite so mercurial as a suffering, sweltering breeder, let me tell you.

I was lucky enough to be hugely pregnant, both times, in the fall/winter, and while I didn’t plan things that way, I was very grateful. The only hardship I suffered in the summer was an uncontrollable, insatiable craving for watermelon. I swear, I half expected the girls to pop out of the womb sporting green skin and seeds. I ate at least one of those seedless Dulcinea watermelons a day. My husband was kind of horrified. He’d watch me unload heavy grocery bags, lining the countertops with melon after melon.

“Jesus,” he’d say, shaking his head. “Don’t you want to eat anything else?”

I really didn’t. Watermelon was my summertime crack snack, and I didn’t care how revolting he thought it was.

Recently, I had a friend up for lunch who is not hugely pregnant, but pregnant all the same. The afternoon was warm and since my dear friend couldn’t sip an icy rose with me, I made up a batch of aqua fresca.

I made watermelon aqua fresca (Mexican melon water) last summer, and boy, is it refreshing. Those people in Mexico sure know how to beat the heat; I can’t think of anything that would quench a thirst faster.

Just to mix things up, I used honeydew in this batch (cantaloupe and guava are also used quite frequently, but my friend is a cantaloupe-hater). Verdict: delicious! Light and refreshing and oh-so-good on a hot day. As she left, she requested recipes for both versions and said, “I’m going to be making buckets of this stuff all summer.”

Call me the Melon Pimp.

Melon Aqua Fresca

serves about 4

2 honeydew melons, skinned, seeded and cut into cubes

3 cups water

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

5 tablespoons sugar, or to taste

Lime slices and mint sprigs, for garnish

Puree all ingredients in a blender until well combined. Pour into a fine-mesh sieve set over a pitcher, pressing down to extract all of the liquid. Chill. Stir and serve over ice. Garnish with lime and mint, if desired.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Corinne July 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm

That sounds heavenly… Paige’s birthday is in August. So yeah… this would have been good :)
But we’re entering a heatwave (90’s all week…) so I might add that to our list of to do’s… thank you!


Cathy July 5, 2010 at 1:24 pm

“her legs blew up like kielbasas”…..nice – that’s awesome. Such a great analogy. And, I have to agree – summer pregnancies suck. I had two.


Kayla Sue July 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I’m a new follower, and I love your blog!! You’re writing style is so fun!

I’m lucky that my little man cooked through the fall and winter as well. Although “morning” sickness in the summer heat isn’t that fun.


rebecca @ altared spaces July 5, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Holy cow, girl, can you pick the words or what?? “Wiping nacho scuzz… the glamour.” I’m rapt. I’m aghast. I laugh. And, best of all, I’m cooled.

How fresh!


Jana @ Attitude Adjustment July 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Do you realize how lucky you are that you craved watermelon, something healthy and non-fattening? I craved chocolate frosted donuts. Pizza. French fries. (Because really, I didn’t know if I was allowed to eat anything else, there were so many damn restrictions!)


Jody July 5, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I must meet this pregnant cantaloup hater.


Velva July 5, 2010 at 5:35 pm

You have such a way with words. A talent for description. I am always laughing because I can almost always relate to the event.

As for pregnancy, I ate a Wendy’s frosty and .99 cent chili everyday for lunch (ugh). I would have been most pleased to eat watermelon non-stop. You must of went to the bathroom even more often :-)


Tiffany July 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm

I was pregnant with Matthew in the summer and it was miserable. Plus…you have to wear a bathing suit….AAAAAHHHH!!!! And that glass? So cute!!


M @ Betty Crapper July 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Love your story. Must have been interesting working in a gas station.

I was hugely pregnant last summer in hot, humid South Florida. I don’t really remember being that miserable. Something’s happened to my brain cells for sure. What I do remember is eating lots of ice cream and craving frozen lemonade. mmmmmmm.


Amber July 5, 2010 at 6:13 pm

HAHA! My first was an August baby. I was a watermelon lover for sure. But mmm mm mmm this drink sounds delicious whether pregnant or not!


Sarah July 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

So I was nine months pregnant in August in FLORIDA with my first babe. And when he was born? 10 lbs, 3 oz! Holy mother of….

And don’t you know I’d make my husband pull up to the nearest grocery store at all times of day just to run in and buy me….watermelon! It was one of the only things I could eat in abundance…and oh it soothed the savage beast of an ill tummy and a huge baby.

So Aqua Fresca? You mean so much to me…especially coming from a spot-on source like THE KITCHEN WITCH. Love ya, baba baba.


Phoo-d July 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm

My Mom just bought a huge watermelon and I’ve been wanting to make this! You must be reading my mind ;). Thanks for posting the recipe!


Aging Mommy July 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm

That sounds wonderfully refreshing! I was lucky to be heavily pregnant in winter too and overdosed on curry, hamburgers and french fries and chinese food, salt, salt and more salt. I cannot eat curry or hamburgers or fries now, three years later.


Lyndsey July 5, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I was only six months pregnant in August in Florida and the heat never bothered me. Of course we were at the beach all the time while my husband raced jet skis. I craved Parmesan cheese, the fresh grate your own kind, I had to have it on everything. I never ate watermelon, don’t know why just don’t eat it. This drink looks lovely, I would go for that, and I have a big mint plant growing outside my door!

You had to wear a red apron?


ck July 5, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I’m bookmarking this beauty…because tomorrow I’m driving away from the ocean and home to 100 degrees. I can already tell that I’ll need a refreshing coping mechanism.


Privilege of Parenting July 5, 2010 at 9:44 pm

It’s almost ten pm in LA and I’ve already shopped, cooked, cleaned up and walked the dog… so I’m not heading back to the market right now—although this post nearly has me back in the car, it sounds like something I want right now. But those melons at the Hollywood farmer’s market now have a pre-ordained fate, and I can hardly wait.


Cheryl @ Mommypants July 5, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I had my daughter Sept. 10th. It was blazing hot and I spent the previous day walking a mile around a lake and then pushing my toddler on a swing at the playground for an hour and a half. She was the only one of the three who arrived before her due date (by a week). The other two? Born in December and March? Both over a week late.


Futureblackmail July 6, 2010 at 5:14 am

Do you have to have the kickin glass to serve it in? I love it!


Maria July 6, 2010 at 6:27 am

Good God, woman! A watermelon a day! I totally understand, though!

I, too, was pregnant in the Summer with Babe #1, in Florida, with a broken AC at one point. I was ready to strip down to my skeleton, for Pete’s sake, it was so HOT!

This would have been lovely…If only there was a next time…NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!


Maureen@IslandRoar July 6, 2010 at 6:41 am

The Melon Pimp, your father would be so proud!
This sounds so good. Especially with this heat.


Emily July 6, 2010 at 7:16 am

This looks like something my sister would like… although, she’d like it with a touch of vodka! ;)


The Curious Cat July 6, 2010 at 9:56 am

What has happened here? Total transformation!!! Need to get reacquainted! I was sort of reading and admiring the layout as I went! As for the recipe – sounds delicious but you know what? I heard that watermelon was a great source for food poisoning abroad in foreign countries…so just to be warned when preggers…never buy it if you see if uncovered and cut and lying in the sun – bacteria breeding ground.

Feels like I’ve been away for ages…too much to catch up on! Hope you are enjoying the summer?! xxx


theUngourmet July 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

Well, first of all…those glasses ROCK! I must find some! I’ve never worked at a gas station. I worked just about everywhere else though. Oh wait. I haven’t ever worked at a strip club. I don’t know what made me think of that. :D

My son was born in August so I can totally relate.

Hope your 4th was nice!


becca July 6, 2010 at 11:22 am

I also CRAVED watermelon when I was pregnant with Hannah. I couldn’t eat enough of it. I also drank pineapple juice like it was going out of style. Now, on hot summer days when I want watermelon, I have serious flashbacks to those nauseous days.
I love how you refer to pregnant women as breeders. Makes us sound like livestock!


Belinda Munoz + The Halfway Point July 6, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I wish I craved watermelon while I was pregnant. Instead, I wanted greasy and deep-fried crap. No wonder I gained 35 pounds and my son weighed a measly 6 pounds.

Anyway, yes. I never say no to agua fresca even on a gloomy SF day like today. It’ll suck when we’re in Mexico in a week and a half where the agua fresca flows. But I don’t plan on getting sick from drinking the water there, again. Once was plenty.

Kielbasa legs? Love it!


La Gourmandesse July 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

You can pimp my melon anytime! That sounds fab in this heat…now if I can only convince my guy to go to the store for me so I don’t have to leave the A/C!


Bryan July 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I love Agua Fresca, such a cool and refreshing summer treat! I can just imagine an icy cold glass of it while relaxing on the patio.


Lea Ann July 6, 2010 at 7:25 pm

Dear Melon Pimp:

Great post! Great photo!



Romaine July 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Watermelon is my summertime “crack” too, although I never called it that before. I want to try it in this drink.


Contemporary Troubadour July 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm

I have had a longtime aversion to watermelon (and other melons). But this weekend, for melon-eating visitors, I soaked slices in a tequila-based syrup (sugar-free for the Troubadour diet) garnished with lime juice. It was as if the fruit had taken on a completely new identity! So this agua fresca — definitely adding it to the lineup. Especially as we too are about to see our first heat wave …


Christine @ Fresh Local and Best July 6, 2010 at 10:49 pm

My mother-in-law planned her pregnancies so that it wouldn’t overlap with summer, and she was so precise that two of her children were born on the same day.

I think I would want to crawl into a watermelon if I was pregnant in the muggy east coast weather. This looks like a vert refreshing drink.


Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla July 7, 2010 at 12:37 am

I also love watermelon. I’m known around this house as routinely eating one quarter of a watermelon and calling it “one fruit.” (Born pig…)


Liz July 7, 2010 at 5:04 am

Hey there Melon Pimp…I actually WAS hugely pregnant in the summer, both times, coincidentally. Keep in mind, I live in South Florida…100% humidity during the 90+ degrees. Ben was born early Sept. and Aidan in early Aug. So serious summer. Everyone was like: Oh you poor thing! My reasoning??? It was better this way b/c when I was on the beach, I was hugely pregnant so the only time in my life when I could stroll the beach in a 2 piece with a big ol’ belly and not give a shit. And then it gave me a full year after I had the boys to lose the weight for the next round of beach weather! HA! It is probably the only time in my life when I was the optimist.


Michelle July 7, 2010 at 5:15 am

I love aguas frescas and I just made a strawberry mint version yesterday. They’re so light and refreshing! Thanks for sharing this recipe.


Barbara July 7, 2010 at 5:26 am

Could there be anything worse than being 8 months along in the dead of summer? Thank you, God, for small favors. I had all of mine in May and June. (And carried all of them rather like a watermelon, too.)

This is an amazingly refreshing, non-alcoholic drink. And simple enough to make alcoholic for non-pregnant guests. Imean you’re serving it in a martini glass, after all. :D


elizabeth July 7, 2010 at 7:55 am

I wish I liked lemons more because I love the concept of agua frescas; alas, melons rank among the only fruits I actively avoid. It’s a taste and texture thing: they don’t taste like much to me (neither sweet nor tart) and their watery flesh isn’t one I find terribly pleasing to eat.

I’m weird, I know.


Leslie July 7, 2010 at 8:57 am

Melon pimp, that looks delicious and so does your new space. We’ve been inhaling melons – mostly watermelon. My boy is asking for it as he goes to sleep and first thing when he wakes up.
I almost want the experience of being a sweltering, suffering summertime breeder. (I’m sure I’ll live to regret that statement.)


Christine LaRocque July 7, 2010 at 9:38 am

Crack snack. OMG I’m snoring in laughter.


Sally Ford July 7, 2010 at 10:11 am

Your blog is full of great recipes! If you ever want to make a cookbook, I would love to help!

Sally Ford


Jane July 7, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Hmmm…I kept looking for the spirits. Would it be horrible if I added some vodka?


Annie July 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I’m literally laughing uncontrollably over “hotter than the devil’s butt”. This is the best phrase I’ve heard in a long time and I think I will try to make it catch on :)


Chiara July 8, 2010 at 1:14 am

Mmmm… I don’t like honeydew, but I definitely like canatalupe and right now I could use a cool refreshing drink!


Maureen July 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

The first time I had this was in Cuernavaca, Mexico – the city of eternal spring. I was attending Spanish language school and staying with a local family that believed that any kind of fresh air was deadly. They used to sneak in my room in the middle of the night and close the windows. Watermelon agua fresca was just about my only friend. Cucumber is also very good.


M.J. Jacobsen July 9, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Wow, where did you get that glass????? Love, love it!


Gibby July 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Yeah, yeah….summer, hot, pregnant, yadda, yadda, yadda.
More importantly, where did you get those kick-ass glasses?

(You know I’m kidding right? About the yadda part?? But not the glass part? Like, the glass should be your very first giveaway and WOW, Gibby won!!)


TKW August 9, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, but I cannot remember where I got the freaking glass…I will research. I think maybe it was Red Envelope…


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