Watermelon Margaritas

I am a major fan of this pretty pink cocktail. It was very light, refreshing, and minimally sweet. Puréed watermelon is the only source of sweetness. Perfect.

This recipe was adapted from 3-Ingredient Cocktails by Robert Simonson, via The New York Times.  I did not strain the puréed watermelon and omitted the jalapeño slices. We tried it with both the cayenne and salt on the rim, and salt alone. Both were delicious. 😉

The original recipe recommends to taste and add more watermelon juice if your margarita is too boozy, and extra lime juice or even a pinch of salt if it’s too sweet.

Yield: 2 drinks

For the (optional) Salted Rim:

  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt or fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tajín or 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)

For the Cocktail:

  • ice, as needed
  • 6 ounces fresh watermelon juice (from about 1 1/2 cups chopped seedless watermelon)(I used cubes from a mini watermelon)
  • 2 ounces tequila, preferably blanco
  • 2 ounces Cointreau
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice (from 1 to 2 large limes), rinds reserved (I used 1 1/2 limes)
  • 2 to 3 thinly sliced jalapeño rounds, optional
  • small slices of watermelon, for garnish, optional
  1. Prepare the salted rim, if using: In a small shallow bowl or plate, combine the sea salt and Tajín or cayenne. Set aside.
  2. Blend the watermelon in a Vitamix or blender; strain if desired. (I left it puréed.)
  3. In a shaker filled with ice, combine the watermelon juice, tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and jalapeño (if using). Shake to combine. (Note: The watermelon flavor shines brighter without the Cointreau, but the liqueur takes the drink into more traditional margarita territory. If you’d like to compare, first try the mixture without, the liqueur, then add 1 ounce of it per serving.)
  4. Using one of the squeezed lime halves, run it along the rim of two margarita or rocks glasses, then dip the rims into the salt mixture.
  5. Fill the glasses with ice, then strain the margaritas into the glasses. Garnish with additional jalapeño slices and/or watermelon slices. Enjoy immediately.

Watermelon Salads

My kids and I love summer watermelon. We usually just chomp on slices of it at the beach, but I recently incorporated it into two refreshing summer side salads.

The first was an adaptation of the classic Middle Eastern Tabouli Salad substituting watermelon for tomatoes. What a great idea! 🙂 The second was another classic Middle Eastern way of serving watermelon- with feta and basil. I made it for a party and was unable to capture it in a photo. You can (will have to!) imagine how pretty it looked. I had been unaware of how wonderful watermelon pairs with feta cheese- so simple and tasty.

The tabbouleh recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living and the watermelon-feta salad recipe was adapted from Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi. Fresh, seasonal and delicious.

Tabbouleh with Watermelon

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup bulgur wheat (I used coarse red bulgur)
  • 1 1/2 to 3+ cups peeled and coarsely chopped watermelon
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces soft goat or feta cheese, crumbled
  1. Bring water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in bulgur, and remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, and let stand, uncovered, until cooled, 15 to 30 minutes. (I spread the cooked bulgur out on a rimmed baking sheet to speed the cooling process.)
  2. Transfer bulgur to a bowl, and toss with watermelon, parsley, scallions, oil, lemon zest and juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Gently fold in cheese. Serve.

Watermelon, Basil & Feta Salad

Yield: Serves 4

  • 10 oz block feta (preferable sheep’s milk)
  • 4 to 5 cups of large-dice watermelon cubes
  • 3/4 cups basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Slice the feta into large but thin pieces, or just break it by hand into rough chunks.
  2. Arrange all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, on a platter or bowl, mixing them up a little.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the top and serve immediately.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Watermelon and Tequila Cooler

This drink SCREAMS summer to me! So far, I have only enjoyed one of these fruity and fabulous cocktails on my back porch (which was lovely, by the way!)… but I know I’ll have one on the beach this summer as well. 🙂 Maybe at an outdoor concert too? I can’t wait!

This sweet and refreshing cocktail (Sandia y Tequila Fresca) was adapted from El Chino Latino Cocina. Great!

Bringing it to Fiesta Friday #73, co-hosted by the amazing bloggers Juju @ Cooking With Aunt Juju and Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake. Cheers!! 🙂

Yield: Makes 1 drink

  • 1 cup watermelon
  • 1 oz tequila
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • ice cubes, for serving
  1. Cut the rind off the watermelon and remove the seeds. Cut enough chunks to measure 1 cup and put in a blender. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
  3. Pour over ice in a margarita or other cocktail glass. Serve cold and enjoy!

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Watermelon Sangria

IMG_9395

This is a sweet and festive summer punch- fun for a crowd. I loved the presentation with the skewered watermelon too. This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Andrew Zimmerman of Del Toro Café in Chicago. Chef Zimmerman created a summer version of this traditional Spanish punch with vodka instead of brandy. Cheers to summer & Happy Fiesta Friday #24 at The Novice Gardener! 🙂

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 drinks

  • 2 pounds seedless watermelon, peeled and cubed, plus 1/2 pound watermelon cut into balls with a melon baller and skewered on picks
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 6 ounces citrus vodka
  • 4 ounces Cointreau or triple sec
  • 4 ounces Citrus Syrup, recipe below
  • Ice
  1. Make the Citrus Syrup: Combine 3/4 cup water, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 1-inch strips lemon zest, and 2 1-inch strips orange zest in a small saucepan. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a blender, puree the watermelon cubes. Pour through a fine strainer into a pitcher. (Makes approximately 4 cups.)
  3. Add the white wine, vodka, Cointreau and cooled Citrus Syrup. Stir and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Stir again, then pour the sangria into ice-filled white wine glasses and garnish with the skewered watermelon balls.

One year ago:

Watermelon Mojito

IMG_4457

We have TONS of mint in our herb garden and I really only use it in iced tea. A mojito is another wonderful use! This is a terrific summer cocktail- refreshing and sweet. The more the watermelon and mint are muddled into the sweetener the better- so much more flavor! This recipe was adapted from Fiesta at Rick’s: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends by Rick Bayless.

Yield: 1 drink

  • 1 sprig of fresh mint (about 10 leaves)
  • 1/2 cup cubed watermelon
  • 1 T (1/2 oz) simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 4 T (2 oz) white rum
  • 1 T (1/2 oz) lime juice
  • ice cubes
  • sparkling water
  1. Place mint leaves and watermelon cubes in a cocktail glass or a tall water glass. Top with agave nectar or simple syrup.
  2. Use a muddler or a handle of a wooden spoon to crush the mint and watermelon, releasing their flavor into the sweetener.
  3. Fill the glass with ice.
  4. Add rum and lime juice. Use a long-handled spoon to mix everything together.
  5. Top off each glass with sparkling water. Serve.

IMG_4459

Giant Lemonade-Watermelon “Ice” Cubes

IMG_4417

An article in the New York Times sparked this idea- but this was a much simpler take on the refreshing thought of frozen pureed watermelon. My only ice-cube tray has HUGE wells, so I made HUGE lemonade-watermelon ice cubes! We put them in seltzer water and in lemonade. The giant ice cubes took such a long time to melt that they kept the drinks nice and cold. Nice on a hot day. Slushy when melted. 🙂

  • 5 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup lemonade  (simple syrup could also be used)

In a blender, puree the watermelon and lemonade. Freeze until firm. Enjoy in lemonade or seltzer.

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