It’s hard to beat the summery simplicity of sweet, cold watermelon. I’ve bought several whole watermelons this year, and it’s been a good season—most have been perfect in both texture and flavor. I try to keep a big bowl of freshly cut cubes in the fridge, but with a houseful of rabid watermelon fans, that bowl is empty within 24 hours. Lately, I’ve been setting aside a hidden portion to make this fresh, cool watermelon cocktail. It’s festive, fun and couldn’t be a better expression of summer.
While watermelon is almost saccharine sweet on its own, watermelon juice is less so. Sure, it still has lots of sugar, but when you strain it for a cocktail, that sweetness is subtle, and the flavor is reminiscent of watermelon’s cool cousin, the cucumber. Adding triple sec or an orange liqueur plus fresh lime juice and fresh mint neatly balance the more vegetal watermelon-cucumber notes.
Watermelon Vodka Cooler
Servings: 1 cocktail
1 ½ ounces vodka or gin
5 ounces fresh watermelon juice*
½ ounce triple sec
Juice of ½ fresh lime
Fresh mint sprig
Watermelon wedge and lime slice for rim garnish
Add the ice to an 8-ounce glass and build the drink, starting with the vodka or gin and ending with lime juice. Stir. Add the mint sprig to the drink. Garnish the rim with the watermelon wedge and lime slice.
*To make watermelon juice:
Add 4 cups of cubed, seeded watermelon to a blender or juicer. Puree until very smooth. Pour through a mesh strainer to yield about 2 ½ cups of strained juice, or about 20 fluid ounces. This is enough juice to make about 4 cocktails.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.