This super refreshing watermelon ginger limeade (agua fresca de sandia) recipe is guaranteed to keep you cool on sizzling hot summer days! This drink is sweet without any added sugar (yay!), cool, and so quick to make that you will be whipping these up all summer long!
It has been really hot here these past couple of weeks. The heat waves have kept our typical summer rains at bay a bit longer than usual and that means we have been craving cool, summertime foods and drinks.
Here in Mexico, it is typical to cool off with an agua fresca, literally fresh or cool water. These drinks are commonly made with in-season fruit. Fruit is either juiced or blended until smooth, strained (sometimes), and water and sugar are added in! These drinks are kind of like “ades” in English, but instead of only using citrus like lemonade or limeade, they use all types of fruit varieties. So, you can have aguas frescas made with mangos, oranges, papaya, guava, pineapple, cantaloupe, hibiscus flowers, tamarind, or even prickly pear fruit!
This refreshing watermelon ginger limeade is one of my favorites! It has zesty citrus hints from the lime and a kick of ginger. Plus, perfectly ripe and sweet watermelon is so hydrating, it is the perfect drink for a hot day!
What’s in watermelon ginger limeade?
You only need 3 simple ingredients to make this refreshing drink! Check the recipe card for the complete quantities.
- Watermelon-you want the sweetest and ripest that you can find!
- Lime juice
- Fresh ginger
I usually buy a personal-sized fresh watermelon at the grocery store. They are a bit easier to store than their bigger brothers since they don’t take up so much room in my fridge or fruit basket. But this recipe will work with whatever kind of watermelon you have. The key is to find one that is ripe so that it is perfectly sweet! That’s the trick to keeping this drink sugar-free!
Do you know how to check if a watermelon is ripe? I confess I am not a pro at picking out ripe melons. I usually give them a good-looking over and cross my fingers! But I found this article that has several tests that you (and I) can use to check if a watermelon is ripe.
I usually have limes on hand and use them to squeeze fresh lime juice for this drink. The variety that I use is the Persian lime. You can substitute for another lime variety, but note that some limes may be more acidic than others, which will alter the final taste of this drink. If you don’t have fresh limes on hand, then bottled lime juice will work just as well!
I have not tried to make this drink with powdered ginger, ginger syrup, or ginger juice, so I can’t really recommend a substitute.
I love the taste of fresh, spicy ginger here. Plus, fresh ginger is usually carried in well-stocked grocery stores, so it is an ingredient that is readily available. If you don’t like ginger, you could omit it completely for a watermelon limeade version of this drink.
Watermelon ginger limeade variations
Straining is optional
I include a straining step in the instructions that is optional in certain cases. If you are using a watermelon with seeds, you will definitely need to strain the watermelon juice, unless you seeded the watermelon prior to blending. No one wants to drink pokey watermelon seed pieces in their refreshing drink, do they? If you are working with a seedless variety and don’t mind a bit of fruit pulp, then straining can be optional.
This beautiful and refreshing drink just screams summertime cocktail to me. I have been tempted to add in vodka or gin, but haven’t done this yet. Wouldn’t this make a lovely watermelon margarita with tequila? I think so. If you try this with alcohol, let me know!
Lemons instead of limes
I can’t always get my hands on lemons here in Mexico, so I always make this drink with limes. You could use lemon juice in place of lime if you wish. Both of these fruits are acidic and a bit sour, but I would say that lemons are a bit sweeter, so the overall flavor might not have that tartness that limes bring.
This watermelon ginger limeade juice is so pretty! Why not make it even prettier by garnishing the glasses with watermelon or lime wedges?
If your watermelon is not as sweet as you like, you could add sugar or simple syrup. I would recommend adding any sweetener slowly and tasting as you go to ensure that you don’t end up with an overly sweet drink.
How to make watermelon ginger limeade step-by-step
Here, I will walk you through the steps needed to make this drink. Be sure to check the recipe card for the ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Blend and strain the watermelon
Add a couple of handfuls of cut-up watermelon cubes to your blender. Working in batches, blend on high until the watermelon is smooth. Strain the watermelon juice through a fine-meshed sieve to remove any pulp or seeds. Repeat this step until all the watermelon is blended.
Add in the lime juice and ginger
Once you have all of your watermelon blended, add the juice back to the blender. Add in the lime juice and grated ginger. Give everything a final whirl on high, just to blend the ingredients.
Chill and serve
Pour the juice into a pitcher and keep in the fridge to cool for a couple of hours, then mix with a spoon just before serving. Or, if you are impatient like me, serve it immediately in a glass filled with ice cubes! Ahhh, so refreshing!
FAQs and tips
Why don’t you blend everything together and then strain the juice?
In my personal opinion, by blending all of the ingredients together, you risk losing some of the lime and ginger flavors when you strain out the watermelon pulp and seeds. If you don’t want to strain this mixture, at all, you don’t have to! Just make sure that you use a seedless watermelon variety.
How can I store fresh ginger root?
I don’t use a lot of ginger, so I like to store my ginger in the freezer! I don’t remember where I learned this trick, but after I wash my fresh ginger and let it dry, I put the whole root in a freezer bag until I need it! Freezing ginger helps conserve this root for longer use and it makes it a cinch to grate! I don’t even bother peeling it!
Is watermelon ginger limeade healthy?
Yes! Because this drink doesn’t have any added sugar, this is a super healthy way to stay hydrated this summer!
Watermelon is 92 percent water, making it a very low-calorie and hydrating food. Because of its low-caloric density, watermelon can make you feel full for longer, which can help with weight management. Plus, watermelon is packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Watermelon also contains a small amount of fiber that works with the water in watermelon to support your digestive system. Studies have also shown that watermelon may increase exercise performance and reduce muscle soreness! (Source: The Top 9 Benefits of Watermelon, Healthline.com).
Limes and lime juice also contain vitamin C, antioxidants, and nutrients that can help boost immunity, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent kidney stones, and promote healthy skin. (Source: Limes: A Citrus Fruit with Powerful Benefits, healthline.com).
Ginger is no slouch either! Ginger helps food move through the digestive tract faster, reduces gas and constipation, has anti-nausea properties, and contains antioxidants. (Source: Ginger Benefits, hopkinsmedicine.org).
With all of these great health benefits, you can feel good about serving this drink to your friends and family this summer!
Other refreshing Mexican recipes
Did you make this watermelon ginger limeade? Leave a comment and a star rating!
Watermelon Ginger Limeade (Agua Fresca de Sandia)
- ~10 cups cubed watermelon (1 small watermelon ~ 5 lbs 10 ounces, or 2.5kgs)
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Blend the cubed watermelon on high speed in a blender until smooth. Work in batches as necessary.~10 cups cubed watermelon
- Strain the blended watermelon through a fine meshed sieve. Discard any seeds and pulp.
- Put the watermelon juice back in the blender and add the grated ginger and lime juice. Blend again to thoroughly mix.1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger, 1/4 cup lime juice
- Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to all to chill or serve immediately over ice.
(The below nutrition label is included as a courtesy. Our terms and conditions explains our nutrition policy.)