The beverages known in Mexico as aguas frescas are an inspired compliment to the rich melding of chiles, herbs and spices found in Mexican food. They act to counter-balance strong flavors and are always light, never cloying. Aguas frescas function somewhat like sorbets, in that they refresh the palate.
Huge glass containers of these cooling drinks are found at street stands all over Mexico, their thirst-quenching contents ladled out throughout the day. A typical comida corrida - literally "meal on the run", served in most Mexican restaurants, however humble or elegant, to accomodate the traditional, large mid-day meal needs of the work force - includes a large pitcher of agua, usually using whatever fresh fruits are in season. These drinks, also known as aguas de fruta, include three essential ingredients: fruit (and sometimes flowers or seeds), water and sweetener.