5 Aguas Frescas to Try in Houston

Categories: Top Five

Aguas Frescas.jpg
Photo by Michael Connell.
Colorful aguas frescas
Although I'm usually all about adult fermented liquid refreshment, I do enjoy less mood-altering beverages during the daylight hours. I've become especially fond of aguas frescas, which I, um, had never heard of before I came to Texas. (Central Pennsylvania is not, as one might imagine, an epicenter of Hispanic cuisine.) Here are my five favorites in Houston:

5. Red Bell Pepper (La Tapatia). If you're tired of overly sweet aguas frescas, try the chile morron at La Tapatia. More cool and soothing than spicy, this juice is the perfect complement to heavier Tex-Mex entrées.

4. Tepache (Hugo's). A combination of tropical and autumnal flavors, tepache mixes sweet pineapple with earthier notes of cloves, cinnamon and brown sugar. It's sold in plastic bags on the streets of Mexico City; Hugo's, however, insists you use a glass.

Watermelon Aguas Frescas.JPG
Photo by Joanna O'Leary.
Watermelon Agua Fresca at The Original Ninfa's.
3. Horchata (La Guadalupana Bakery & Cafe). Horchata is my new favorite endurance sports beverage (sorry, Lean Body); I mean, really, how can you go wrong with liquified rice? I've tried enough versions in H-town (including one rather gross grocery store offering) to know that the stuff at La Guadalupana is first-rate in terms of fresh ingredients and consistency. On weekend mornings, I suggest double-fisting with a cup of their fresh coffee.

2. Watermelon (The Original Ninfa's). While it's not terribly unusual for an agua fresca to arrive adorned with a garnish, the watermelon version at The Original Ninfa's comes with an unusually large slab of fruit. So gigantic is this chunk of melon that it threatens to tip over the glass, whose contents are equally big on crisp, clean flavor.

1. Cantaloupe (El Rey Taqueria). The perfect coda to a meal of tacos and tortilla soup at El Rey Taqueria is a large glass of agua de melón. Fragrant and slightly syrupy, this juice satisfies your sweet tooth and leaves you far more hydrated than that piece of flan.



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Location Info

La Tapatia Taqueria

1749 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Hugo's

1600 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

La Guadalupana Bakery and Café

2109 Dunlavy St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Original Ninfa's On Navigation

2704 Navigation, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

El Rey Taqueria

9742 Katy Freeway, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
Gregory M. Buchold
Gregory M. Buchold

Horchata is a great milkshake replacer for the lactose intolerant as long as there is no hidden cow milk inside. I like saying the word Jamaica however.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Any thoughts on the best tamarindo in town?

Rj Fath
Rj Fath

pineapple and cucumber from mi' tienda in pasadena

kshilcutt
kshilcutt moderator editor

Love that cantaloupe at El Rey...

MaryMackTX
MaryMackTX

@EatingOurWords Yes- the Fiesta horchata is foul. I imagine they sprinkle in little pink packets of sweet-n-low behind the counter.

Dana Brock
Dana Brock

Melon 1st... Jamaica a close second!

Dana Brock
Dana Brock

SOOO glad to see Melon aqua as number 1. This is by far, the BEST drink ever. Especially in our hot Houston summers! Plus, you can't go wrong paying a $1 for giant drink to sip on most of the day...

Doak Procter
Doak Procter

Melon tends to be my favorite, as well. I haven't tried it at El Rey, though. I'll have to fix that.

Occupy Food
Occupy Food

Not all waters are alike. Seek the real deal everyone or you might be drinking artificial ingredients.

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