In the search for new colors for the backgrounds of my latest children’s book I have found big inspiration in Aguas Frescas. Yesterday I photographed this stand at the Mercado San Juan de Dios in San Miguel de Allende. I like to make short video clips on my daily walks then review them each morning. At the end of the day it’s clear I often synthesize these sights and sounds into my work. I find it also helps to sip color while I’m painting.
My mother Pillo started making these fresh fruit drinks for me when I was a kid and they are typically served from large barrel-shaped glass containers called jarrones. In summer, it’s easy to find vendors selling these colorful concoctions on carts all over town often kept cool by resting on large blocks of ice. You make authentic aguas frescas from fresh fruit like melons, oranges, cantaloupes, pineapples, limes, guavas, watermelons, mangos…whatever you can find. Here in Mexico we sometimes use more exotic ingredients like hibiscus flowers [dried jamaica], tamarind pods or pomegranates.
These refreshing summer drinks are easy to make, good for you and a great activity to do with your kids. We make a different one each day and our son gets excited to pick the fruit out at the market and watch the color emerge in the blender. He then pulls out his colored pencils and labels the fruit in his drawings using Spanish- melón, naranja, jamaica, tamarindo, guyaba, sandia, limón.
Here’s our technique:
Grab a pitcher and add water.
Depending on the fruit you may or may not choose to add sweeteners like honey, agave syrup or sugar.
Cut the fruit and blend it in a blender then add that to your pitcher.
You might need to strain certain fruits.
Cool it in the fridge overnight or add ice to drink it on the spot in a festive glass.
Encourage your kids to change up the lemonade stand this summer
with these colorful and cool creations.