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Holy Basil & Strawberry Agua Fresca Mocktail Recipe


Homemade fresh strawberry agua fresca mocktail overhead view with stainless steel straw.

Tulsi tea, lime, agave—served chilled or over ice, it’s the perfect mood-supportive cup of joy for a swelteringly hot summer day. Aguas frescas are my go-to warm weather drink, and with good reason! They’re incredibly simple and (bonus) very easy to combine with herbal tea for an extra kick of botanical support or flavor. And when the thermometer hits 100, and I can hardly stand to be in the kitchen, throwing fruit, tea, lime, and sweetener into a blender makes for a great, almost-instant snack, not to mention a fabulous natural hydrator.

Aguas frescas hail from Mexico, land of sun and siestas. They’re essentially a whole fresh juice—like a cross between a juice and a smoothie. I personally love to eat sweet fruits with the natural fiber, as it helps the body to process the sugars more slowly. And, helpfully, it’s a perfect way to work through all of the extra ripe fruit you have lying around from your last trip to the farmers’ market.

If you're going alcohol-free this summer, a well-blended agua fresca can be tailored to offer a nutritious alternative beverage featuring the best flavors of your favorite blended margarita, piña colada, or daiquiri.

So let’s talk a bit about combining a traditional agua fresca with tea.

Aquas frescas are one part fruit to one part water, so tea is an easy substitution for the water. The idea is to maximize the support you can get out of a glass of cold fruit juice by adding herbs like tulsi, rose, mint, or lemon balm—all of which have traditionally been used for mood support.

You could use any number of herbal teas, from solo herbs like hibiscus to blends like Lemon Tea or Grateful Heart Tea.

Preparations for making blended agua frescas. A Vitamix blender and bags of dried herbs like holy basil and rose petals.

Ideally, choose teas that are light, citrusy, sweet, or minty for the best flavor combinations with fruit. I would shy away from earthy, rich, savory, or spiced teas like dandelion or chai. I also suggest avoiding lavender, as it can have a soapy flavor when combined with many fruits.

The best fruits for aguas frescas, from what I’ve tested in my kitchen, are smooth, mostly seedless, and the juicier the better. Fruits with more natural acid keep their bright color the best.

Favorite Fruits for Aguas Frescas:

  • Melons—seedless watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew
  • Berries—strawberries and blueberries are the best
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Peaches and nectarines
  • Pineapple
  • Dragon fruit
  • Cucumber

These fruits are great as well, but you’ll want to strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds:

  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Seeded watermelon

A blended strawberry agua fresca infused with herbal tea is prepared and ready for a hot summer day. A cocktail glass with a blended fruity beverage is garnished with fresh strawberries.

Base Herbal Agua Fresca Recipe

Makes 2 servings, or about 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. dried herbal tea
  • 1 cup chopped fruit
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, raw local honey, or maple syrup + more to taste
  • 1 tsp. lime juice (approximately 1/2 lime) + more to taste
  • Ice

Two of my favorite combinations are a floral watermelon or a minted cantaloupe agua fresca blend, available on my natural lifestyle and recipe blog, Will Frolic For Food. Here, I'm excited to share a third winning combination: holy basil with strawberry, which serves as a nice take on a virgin strawberry daiquiri

Tulsi Strawberry Agua Fresca Recipe

Makes 2 servings or about 2 cups.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. dried tulsi basil (Rama variety is a favorite for iced tea)
  • 1 cup hulled strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, raw local honey, or maple syrup + more to taste
  • 1 tsp. lime juice (~1/2 lime) + more to taste
  • Ice

Directions

  1. Pour the hot water over the tulsi and let steep 5 minutes (or infuse longer for a stronger tea).
  2. Cool to room temperature and strain with a tea strainer, cheesecloth, or funnel with filter.
  3. In a high-powered stand up blender, combine steeped tulsi, hulled strawberries, sweetener, lime juice, and a handful of ice.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Taste and adjust sweetener and lime juice according to your personal taste.
  6. Serve immediately as-is or over ice with a wedge of fruit on each glass for garnish.
  7. Enjoy!

And just in case those aren’t enough options for you, here are some of my OTHER favorite flavor combinations!

Pro-Tip: Avoid cherries and bananas, as they both make for unfortunately brown aquas frescas.

An assortment of fresh fruits, flowers, and herbs are gathered with three completed summer agua frescas garnished with strawberries, watermelon, and mint.

 

Looking for other fresh and tasty summer drinks?

Try Two More Herb-Inspired Aguas Frescas with Watermelon and Cantaloupe!

 

You may also like:

 

Pinterest link to Mountain Rose Herbs. Three blended aguas frescas garnished with fresh fruit, herbs, and flowers.

 


Topics: Culinary, Recipes, Tea & Herbal Drinks

Renee

Written by Renee on July 25, 2019

Renee Byrd is a photographer, writer, blogger, and yoga teacher based out of Charlottesville, VA. She is the creator and voice of Will Frolic for Food (est. 2012), a food and lifestyle blog celebrating the joy of eating and living vibrantly. Expressing her love for healthy creative food, herbalism, mindfulness and self-care through her blog, Renee posts everything from recipes to lifestyle guides. She creates full time both by maintaining her blog and doing commissioned work for clients. Her recipes and work have been featured by Better Homes and Gardens, Thrive Magazine, The Kitchn, Urban Outfitters, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, Alive Magazine, The Local Palate and many more. Renee’s days consist of boat-loads of herbal tea, a fair amount of coffee, teaching and practicing yoga, gathering herbs from the garden, cooking, shooting, styling and editing from her home studio. When she’s not working she loves to dance, eat delicious food, host low key dinner gatherings, paddle board, and goof around with her husband.


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