Working in batches, purée the cantaloupe in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
Skim the foam from the surface and strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve, preferably lined with cheesecloth, into a pitcher. Stir in the lemon juice, basil, and water. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Fill glasses with ice and divvy the agua fresca among them.
Variation: Watermelon and Grapefruit
Substitute 9 cups chopped, seeded watermelon (about 2 1/2 pounds rindless fruit) for the cantaloupe, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice for the lemon juice, and omit the basil and water. Blend, skim, strain, and serve immediately over ice.
About the Author
Susan is a Colorado Master Gardener, as designated by Colorado State University. She is the voice behind our Green Thumb Gossip, a weekly blog where she shares her expertise on things like when to plant what, tricks of the trade, and how to make your yard the talk of the town