Aguas Frescas & Paletas: Refreshing Mexican Beverages and Frozen Treats, Traditional and Reimagined, written by Ericka Sanchez, features an exciting collection of 40 recipes perfect for summer and any time of year. A few highlights include Hibiscus Watermelon Pops (Paletas de Jamaica y Sandia), Plum Cooler (Agua de Ciruela), Classic Lime Pops (Paletas de Lima), Guava & Cinnamon Cooler (Agua de Guayaba y Canela), and Corn Pops (Paletas de Elote). I will also be sharing her recipe for Mint Blackberry Lemonade (Limonada de Mora y Menta) following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Familius in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Ericka Sanchez is a recipe developer and food stylist. She developed the culinary website, Nibbles and Feasts, in 2010 as a way to share traditional family favorites along with new recipes inspired by her travels and life in California. Her work has also been featured in The Latin Kitchen, Nestle Kitchens Blog, Disney Family, Spanglish Baby, Latinamom.me, Momtastic, General Mills’ Que Rica Vida, and more.
Ericka was born in Torreón, Coahuila, Mexico and immigrated to El Paso, Texas at the age of eight with her family. She is currently based in California. Her second book, ¡Buen Provecho!, is set to release in October 2021.
Aguas Frescas & Paletas
Ericka begins with a short introduction and how she developed a love for Aguas Frescas and Paletas at her grandmother’s home in Mexico. She has put together this book to share those favorite traditional flavors along with a few new inspirations.
The recipes are divided into two parts: Aguas Frescas and Paletas. The contents include a full list with page number for easy reference.
With beginners in mind, Ericka thoroughly explains the types of sweeteners, required equipment, and how to handle the paleta molds (or disposable cups). She also highlights notable ingredients such as chia, tuna (prickly pear), Mexican chocolate, tamarind, and more.
Every single recipe is paired with a beautifully-styled, full-page photo. Titles are written in English and Spanish. Measurements are listed in US Customary. Headnotes include background information, personal stories and memories, serving size, and helpful tips.
Mint Blackberry Lemonade (Limonada de Mora y Menta)
During berry season, I usually find myself gravitating towards fresh strawberries and blueberries while all too often neglecting the others. I have been trying to do better about including more of a variety. This Mint Blackberry Lemonade (Limonada de Mora y Menta) in the Aguas Frescas section is the perfect start!
First, place sugar and water over medium heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. While it cools, blackberries are blended with lemon juice and mint. The mixture is then combined with the simple syrup and water to create a cool and refreshing drink. I especially love the striking and vibrant color.
I strained the blended blackberries and lemon juice for a smooth and more clear drink, but this is completely optional. Ericka mentions you can add a splash of club soda for a little fizz.
More Aguas Frescas and Paletas
I also made Horchata (Agua de Horchata), Strawberry Orange Beet Cooler (Agua de Fresa, Naranja, y Betabel), Rice Pudding Pops (Paletas de Arroz con Leche), and Mexican Chocolate Pops (Paletas de Chocolate Mexicano).
The Horchata (Agua de Horchata) is the very first recipe in the book and continues to be a favorite. It does require overnight planning to soak the rice and cinnamon, but otherwise has very little prep. Ericka says it is perfect for pairing with spicy, salsa-drenched tacos.
The Strawberry Orange Beet Cooler (Agua de Fresa, Naranja, y Betabel) is another gorgeous drink. After boiling a red beet until tender, it is blended with strawberries, then sweetened and combined with water and orange juice. This drink was Claire’s favorite.
The Rice Pudding Pops (Paletas de Arroz con Leche) kick off the Paletas section. They have all the incredible flavors of Arroz con Leche, but in a chilled form for hot summer days. Tender rice is combined with evaporated milk, sugar, and ground cinnamon, then transferred to molds and frozen until solid.
The kids picked out the Mexican Chocolate Pops (Paletas de Chocolate Mexicano) recipe and it was a particular favorite with Evan. Milk is thickened with cornstarch before combining with cocoa powder, Mexican chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk. After chilling, the result is such an incredibly rich and creamy texture.
Aguas Frescas & Paletas is a great pick for those interested in a variety of Mexican drinks and popsicles. Most of the recipes come together with as little as three to five ingredients. The Paletas do require a few hours to freeze, but often only need minimal prep. I absolutely love the assortment of flavors from fresh fruits and even vegetables to dairy-based treats.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. A few items that may require further searching include chia seeds, Mexican chocolate, dried hibiscus flowers, piloncillo, chayote squash, prickly pears, chamoy sauce, tamarind pods, cajeta, and amaranth.
Mint Blackberry Lemonade (Limonada de Mora y Menta) Recipe
Excerpt from Aguas Frescas & Paletas
Mint Blackberry Lemonade (Limonada de Mora y Menta)
- 1/2 cup pure cane sugar
- 5 cups water divided
- 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
- 3 cups blackberries
- 2 tablespoons (packed) fresh mint plus a few sprigs for garnish
- Place sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
- Combine lemon juice, blackberries, and mint in a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Place sugar water mixture and remaining 4 cups water in a large pitcher. Stir in blackberry mixture, with or without running it through a strainer.
- Serve cold over ice and garnish with mint sprigs.