Watermelon Basil Agua Fresca

1 6 lb seedless watermelon
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup basil simple syrup*
juice of 1/4 lime

Scoop out the watermelon, using an ice cream scooper, directly into a food processor**. Add the basil syrup. Pulse until smooth. Strain through a wide wire mesh sieve into a pitcher. Stir in the lime juice and water.

Optional: freeze cubes of watermelon to use as “ice cubes” in the drink.

*Follow these instructions for simple syrup, adding one handful of roughly chopped fresh basil to the water and sugar before boiling and strain the leaves out at the end.

**A blender won’t work. A food mill would be a better substitution and you won’t have to strain it out after processing. Or just mash the fruit if you want it to be thicker.

My thoughts:

Literally “fresh water” agua fresca is water based drink infused with fruit. Watermelon is a is my fruit to use because it is mostly water-if you use other fruits, the amount of water you need to use increases. Since I don’t have to add a lot of extra water, the flavor is undiluted. I love basil and watermelon together so I thought instead of just adding simple syrup, I made a fresh batch and infused it with basil. It gave a herbal note to the drink that really cut the sweetness and made it extra refreshing. Perfect for a not-quite Autumn afternoon.


  1. how much does this make?

  2. Needs some vodka.

    Just kidding. Looks gorgeous!

    but maybe just a little vodka

  3. hey the basil syrup sounds interesting

  4. I agree with Jim 😉

  5. Meghan: A fair amount-enough for several servings, but it depends on how much juice you get out of your watermelon.

    Everyone else: adding tequila and keeping it a little chunky would be fun for a margarita!

  6. What a beautiful combination!

  7. Basil seems to go with so many things but I would never have thought to team it with watermelon. I really like this idea.

  8. my friend made this for my babyshower and it was FAN-FRINKIN-TASTIC! Mmmmmm Mmmmm Good!