‘Spa water’ TikTok controversy sparks conversation about cultural appropriation

An ’s attempt to share a recipe for “spa water” has sparked a conversation about after users pointed out the drink shares the same recipe as the popular Mexican drink agua fresca.

The trend began with Indiana-based influencer Gracie Norton, who boasts more than 550,000 followers on the app, where she shares health and tips, and who posted about the drink late last month.

In the since-deleted videos, Norton touted the drink, consisting of water, cucumber, lime juice and sugar, as being “anti-inflammatory,” packed with “antioxidants” and being able to help with digestion.

“And it’s personally just my favourite way to stay hydrated,” Norton said, before showing followers how to create the drink. Norton also created subsequent recipe videos about the drink, in which she swapped out cucumber for other fruits, according to .

The videos soon sparked backlash on the video-sharing platform, where many users noted the similarities between Norton’s so-called “spa water” and agua frescas. Agua frescas, which translates to “fresh juice,” are found throughout Mexico and central America.