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Cocktails

The Watermelon Drink Is Built to Please

July 25, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Cocktails

The Watermelon Drink Is Built to Please

July 25, 2022

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Lizzie Munro

Summer's most crowd-pleasing flavor stars in punches, spritzes, swizzles and more.

Juicy, refreshing and distinctly seasonal, the watermelon’s crowd-pleasing tendency is self-explanatory. But, since its ’90s heyday when the fruit starred in sweet ’tinis and slushy cocktails, the oft-maligned “basic” watermelon cocktail has grown up

In today’s watermelon cocktail canon there are, of course, sophisticated takes on the usual suspects, such as the Sandia Stormking, an update to the watermelon Margarita where the fruit infuses the tequila; or the Watermelon Cucumber Cooler, where a pinch of wasabi salt intensifies the flavor. But there are also new formats altogether that use the easy-drinking nature of watermelon to introduce unexpected or challenging flavors. In Lynnette Marrero and John Ware’s Meloncholia, for example, a base of pisco, rosé and watermelon juice is paired with ginger syrup and a few dashes of a habanero tincture for a drink that is equal parts surprising and crushable. Orlando Franklin McCray’s two-ingredient Watermelon Pastis, meanwhile, can be an approachable first taste of anise-forward pastis, a relatively unfamiliar spirit stateside.

Above all, whether it’s thrown into a punch, spritz or swizzle, the watermelon cocktail should stay true to its signature easy-drinking nature. Here are our favorite recipes that showcase all that the summer fruit can do.

Meloncholia
Recipe

Meloncholia

A modern watermelon cocktail that's equal parts “crushable” and surprising.

watermelon sgroppino
Recipe

Watermelon Sgroppino

Fanny Chu's smoky-sweet update.

Watermelon Drink Recipe
Recipe

Bling Melon

Juicy watermelon cut with the spice of green chile-infused vodka and Ancho Reyes.

tan line spritz cocktail recipe
Recipe

Tan Line Spritz

An easy-going, light and bright Sbagliato rendition made with watermelon juice.

watermelon pastis
Recipe

Watermelon Pastis

A simple, sophisticated take on the watermelon cocktail.

Recipe

Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

A seasonal highball that combines gin, wasabi powder, watermelon and cucumber.

Recipe

El Vato Swizzle

A near-Margarita, but in the form of an icy swizzle.

Watermelon Drink Recipe
Recipe

Ajax Punch

An easy-drinking punch that can be batched for a crowd.

Watermelon Drink Recipe
Recipe

Contraband Picnic

A balanced whiskey cocktail that proves that watermelon can work well brown spirits.

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