Skip to content

Jump Right in, the Agua is Loca!

Agua Loca (Spanish for crazy water) isn’t a wild river or even a nude beach, and I wouldn’t recommend swimming in it. Agua Loca is a must-try Ecuadorian cocktail that combines pipa–fresh coconut water–with the liquor aguardiente, which literally translates to “firewater.” So this cocktail is, uh, crazy firewater.

Aguardiente is the traditional Ecuadorian liquor. Also known as “puro” (pure) or “caño” (cane), it’s basically sugar cane juice that’s been fermented and distilled. Aguardiente has very high alcoholic content (up to 84 proof!) and a strong molasses aftertaste, making it a perfect liquor to dilute with a clean, refreshing mixer like coconut water. In Ecuador, aguardiente is sold under the brand name Cristal, a reference to the liquor’s clarity: just looking at it, you can’t tell if it’s liquor or pure water. Cristal is the also the brand of aguardiente you’re likely to find at your US liquor store. If you feel like messing with a classic, try a flavored version: peach, orange or lime.

The official way to make an Agua Loca is easy, although it requires a little bit of hardware. Simply find a young coconut and drill two holes in the “eyes.” Pour in some aguardiente (whatever amount you suspect won’t make you too crazy) and swirl the coconut around, mixing the coconut water inside with the liquor. Pop a straw into one of the drilled holes, find a nice reclining beach chair, and you’re in business.

The good news is that the recent US craze for coconut water makes it easy to find, so you don’t need to fly all the way to Ecuador to make this cocktail yourself! Pick up a bottle of pipa–or an entire coconut if you feel adventurous–and spike it with some aguardiente, so your water can be this crazy anywhere, anytime.