Mexican non-alcoholic drinks: from aguas frescas to atole

aguas frescas

When it comes to Mexican cuisine, the drinks are just as important as the food. From refreshing aguas frescas to atole, there is a wide variety of beverages to choose from. In this post, we'll introduce you to some of the most popular and traditional Mexican non-alcoholic drinks, including their origins, ingredients, and how they pair with different types of food.

We'll start with aguas frescas, which are a staple of Mexican street food. These sweet and fruity drinks are made by blending fresh fruits, sugar, and water. Aguas frescas, or "fresh waters," are a popular and refreshing drink in Mexico made from blending fruits or grains with water and sweetener. They can be made from a variety of fruits such as watermelon, tamarind, hibiscus, and pineapple, and often served chilled. The origins of aguas frescas can be traced back to pre-hispanic Mexico, where the Aztecs and Mayans made drinks similar to aguas frescas using native fruits and sweeteners such as honey and agave. Aguas frescas pair well with spicy or savory dishes, as they provide a cooling contrast to the heat. 

A popular Mexican drink that should not be missed is the traditional Mexican hot chocolate, also known as "chocolate de mesa". This rich and creamy beverage is made from ground cocoa beans, sugar, and cinnamon. It's a thick and rich drink that is often served with breakfast. The origins of Mexican hot chocolate can be traced back to the Aztecs and Mayans, who consumed a beverage made from cocoa beans and spices. The traditional way to enjoy Mexican hot chocolate is with a sweet roll or pastry, and it's also a popular drink to enjoy during the winter months. It's usually served with a side of sweet bread, known as "pan dulce", making it a perfect treat to enjoy during breakfast or as a dessert. The chocolate de mesa is traditionally made using a metate, a stone tool used to grind the cocoa beans, however, nowadays it is usually made using a molinillo, a wooden whisk until it becomes frothy. The chocolate de mesa is usually thick and rich, it is usually served as a thick paste that can be mixed with hot water or milk. Drinking chocolate de mesa is a great way to experience a bit of Mexican culture and history.

Another must-try Mexican drink is the traditional "horchata". Horchata is a sweet and refreshing drink made from a combination of rice, cinnamon, vanilla and sometimes, nuts such as almonds or sesame seeds. The ingredients are soaked overnight and then ground and mixed with water, sugar and milk. The result is a delicious and creamy beverage with a unique flavor. Horchata is a common drink that can be found in street vendors and in most traditional Mexican restaurants. Some variations of Horchata also include fruits like melon or strawberry. Horchata is also a great drink to pair with savory Mexican dishes like tacos or tamales, as it helps to balance out the spiciness and richness of the food. The origins of horchata can be traced back to ancient Egypt, and it was brought to Mexico by the Spanish. Horchata has a unique nutty and slightly sweet flavor, and it's often also paired with sweet breakfast treats such as conchas or sweet tamales. Horchata is also a popular drink to enjoy during the summer months and it's a common drink during the Mexican Day or the Dead celebrations.

One more traditional Mexican drink that is worth trying is "Agua de Jamaica", also known as hibiscus tea. This drink is made from the dried petals of the hibiscus flower, which are steeped in hot water, and then sweetened with sugar. It has a deep red color, and a unique, slightly tart flavor. Agua de Jamaica is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, it is also known for its medicinal properties. It is a great thirst quencher and a popular drink in Mexico, particularly during the hot summer months. Agua de Jamaica is a great alternative to soda or sugary drinks and a delicious way to enjoy the natural flavors of Mexico.

Another traditional Mexican drink that is worth trying is "Atole". Atole is a warm, thick, and creamy drink made from masa, a type of corn dough, mixed with water or milk, sweetened with sugar and flavored with vanilla or cinnamon. This drink is a staple of Mexican cuisine and is often served for breakfast or as a dessert.The origins of atole can be traced back to pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, where it was consumed by the Aztecs and other indigenous peoples.

The versatility of atole makes it a perfect beverage to pair with different types of Mexican food. The sweet, creamy texture of atole pairs well with savory dishes, such as tamales, enchiladas, or chilaquiles. The chocolate variations are also a perfect match for sweet and spicy dishes such as mole. The fruity variations of atole are perfect to pair with sweet breakfast pastries, pancake, waffles, buñuelos, or churros. The thick, creamy consistency of atole makes it a perfect complement to these traditional Mexican foods. The addition of vanilla or chocolate flavorings also makes it a great accompaniment to sweet pastries or cakes. Some regional variations of atole include adding fruits like strawberries, pineapple or even nuts like almond. It can be made with different types of milk, such as coconut or almond milk, for a vegan or dairy-free option. Atole is a comforting and satisfying drink that is perfect for a cold winter evening. It is also a traditional drink served during the Day of the Dead celebrations. 

Mexican drinks are a vital part of the country's culinary culture. All of these traditional Mexican drinks offer a unique and delicious way to experience the culture and history of Mexico. 

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