Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Drinks, Recipes

Tamarind Orange Cooler {Agua de Tamarindo}

March 7, 2014
 I’ve had this block of tamarind pulp floating around in my pantry for a few months (ahem, a year) now. It was one of those impulse buys at the Asian market. I have to drive an hour, one way, to get there so sometimes I get a little overzealous with my purchases. I get this panicky feeling like I might never make it back there and I better buy everything I might ever want or need right now just in case……and then I come back the next week.

Tamarind Orange Cooler

 I’ve used the tamarind here and there and I definitely have plans to make these ice pops and possibly these short ribs but even after all that I’ll still have quite a hunk on my hands. I’ve been searching around the web to see what the kids these days are doing with tamarind and I came across a recipe on Gourmet’s website for Agua de Tamarindo that was buried in a list of other recipes captured under the heading 1990’s Recipes + Menus, which made me laugh a little to think what the beautiful people of Mexico would say if I were to spread the word that they’re beloved Agua de Tamarindo, found in every taqueria in every corner of our country and theirs was soooooooo 90’s! That’s like saying lemonade is soooooo 80’s or psht, wine? That’s like soooo BC.

I took it upon myself to either, verify, once and for all, that like The Backstreet Boys and Hot Pockets, Agua de Tamarindo should remain a thing of the 90’s or see if it lives up to it’s evergreen status and Wow! I like tamarind ague fresca but this shitz no Backstreet Boys.

Tamarind Orange Cooler

 Instead of adding extra water after I steeped the tamarind I added fresh squeezed orange juice (in this case Cara Cara because that’s all I had). Holy Moly, this stuff is good! Completely refreshing, with enough sweetness to balance out the tart, puckering tang of the tamarind. It came out quite a bit darker than I remember, but I think that’s because I really pushed and mashed the tamarind pulp through the strainer trying to get every drop of moisture out and I might of gotten more of the pulp than you normally would, but that’s okay I like getting tiny bits of sweet, sour tamarind with every sip. You could spruce it up with some golden rum if you were feeling adventurous or just enjoy as is, simple, pure, perfection. That never gets old.

Tamarind Orange Cooler {Agua de Tamarindo}

Yield: 4-6

Adapted from Gourmet

Tamarind pulp is like a dense brick of tamarind, seeds and all. You can also use 4 ounces of dried pods, just twist the stem ends and pull to remove the strings, discard the pods and proceed with the recipe. 


  • 4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) tamarind pulp
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 5 large oranges)


  1. Combine tamarind, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes breaking up the tamarind with the back of a spoon.
  2. Remove from heat and cover. Let steep for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  3. Strain into a pitcher, pressing on the solids to remove all the liquid. Stir in the orange juice and serve over ice.

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