Hello Summer – A Watermelon Fizzy Cocktail

May 20, 2012

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The local farmers market today was filled with several varieties of stone fruit, rhubarb, strawberries, and melons. Melons were everywhere. Red, orange, green, and white. I grabbed whatever I could carry, I couldn’t help myself.

After washing, cleaning and cutting all of my veggies, I stared at the amount (and size of the fruit) that now rested upon my kitchen counter. I had room in the fridge for most of it, but with an over abundance of watermelon, I was forced to find another use for it. With several cups already cut up and stored in a glass container, I still had quite a bit left over. The weather today is quite spectacular and all I could think about was an “aqua fresca” with a bit of a kick. I went to work.

Limes are a household staple and with more than enough on hand, I started juicing. Freezing left over juice in ice cube trays gives me a head start on this Wednesday nights meal. Tequilla lime chicken is on the meal plan this week, and having one less step to do that day always puts a smile on my face.

Infusing fresh basil in a batch of simple syrup enhanced the watermelon flavor. I have had fresh watermelon aqua fresca at various events and restaurants and there have been those times when it simply tasted bland. Adding the basil to the simple syrup, seeping for at least 30 minutes, brought out the earthy flavors in the watermelon. In addition, I poured the watermelon puree through a fine mesh sieve. My kids don’t like pulp in their fresh squeezed o.j., nor do they like chunks in their smoothies. Didn’t want to cause any stress on such a lovely Sunday afternoon!

We love fresh fruit, homemade “sodas”. I make a variation of my pomegranate-cranberry soda for Friday night dinners, and the leftovers rarely last through the weekend. Using most of what I already had on hand;  fresh basil, limes, and now this watermelon, I made a great drink for the kids. With a splash of chilled vodka, the adults had a drink that ushered them right into the beginning of summer.

Watermelon Fizzy Cocktail
yield: 6-10 servings, depending upon the size of the glass

6 cups watermelon puree, 1 medium watermelon
3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 10-12 limes)
3/4 cup simple syrup
handful of fresh basil leaves
Seltzer water
Vodka, I prefer Grey Goose

make your simple syrup. in a small heavy bottom pot, combine 1 cup filtered water with 1 cup of organic pure cane sugar. bring to a boil over medium heat. once sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat. add a generous 1/2 cup of basil to the syrup and let steep for at least 30 minutes. remove leaves after 30 minutes and continue to let cool.
• juice your limes either by hand or with a juicer. set aside.
• set a fine mesh sieve over a glass bowl. set aside.
• remove the rind from the watermelon and cut into large chunks. add a couple of cups of watermelon to your blender and liquefy until no chunks remain. strain puree. repeat until all of your watermelon has been pureed.
• in a large, glass pitcher, combine watermelon puree, simple syrup, and lime juice. refridgerate until cold, about 2 hours.
• when ready to serve, fill a glass with ice. pour watermelon 3/4 of the way up the glass. for the kiddies – fill glass with seltzer water. for the mama’s and the papa’s – top off the glass with about 3 tablespoons of chilled vodka.
• garnish with lime wedges or fresh basil and a decorative straw!

 More Watermelon Ideas:
Watermelon Cooler – Dine and Dish
Grilled Watermelon Salad – Verses from my Kitchen
Watermelon Granita – The Comfort of Cooking
Watermelon Salsa – Recipe Girl
Watermelon + Kiwi Proseco Sorbet – Epicurean Mom


{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen May 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Oh my – that looks so good, Susan! I’m always on the lookout for delicious summer beverages. Thanks for sharing this one!


2 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Kristen, secretly – you are my go to girl for those one of a kind cocktails and beverages. So glad I could push one your way for a change!!! And cheers to you – saw that your kids are officially out of school, thus you don’t have to pack lunches (I envy you!). xx


3 Susan @ SwoonMySpoon May 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Anything with watermelon and vodka has to be a keeper. I’m adding this to my summer staple’s list.


4 Susan May 21, 2012 at 7:30 am

Yes, Susan! Pretty much any fruit with vodka works – don’t you agree!?


5 Kim May 21, 2012 at 4:57 am

Oh, I love this cocktail, it looks fantastic!


6 Susan May 21, 2012 at 7:30 am

Thanks, Kim – we all enjoyed. The kids sans the alcohol and the adults with!


7 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel May 21, 2012 at 5:21 am

The color is so bright and inviting. Yum!


8 Susan May 21, 2012 at 7:31 am

Rachel – I have never made watermelon puree. So easy and so good. I am now officially hooked!


9 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] May 21, 2012 at 6:20 am

This looks so refreshing. I love the addition of seltzer water for some fizz!


10 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Allison, for those of us whom rarely drink, it makes you feel as though you are drinking a cocktail without drinking a cocktail!


11 Maria May 21, 2012 at 7:13 am

Such a pretty drink!


12 HeatherChristo May 21, 2012 at 7:21 am

So beautiful Susan! I love the color of these drinks!


13 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Thanks so much, Heather. Cheers to the beginning of summer, no homework, and no more packing lunches! Counting the days!


14 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 21, 2012 at 7:26 am

I love the sound of this! on my list for the weekend


15 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Please let me know if you do end up making it and how it turns out! Have a great, long weekend, Alison!


16 ea-the spicy rd May 21, 2012 at 8:44 am

Lovely fizzy cocktail! We’ve just started on our watermelon kick for the season, and this looks divine {with or without the vodka} Definitely keeping this in mind for the upcoming memorial weekend 🙂


17 Susan May 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

My kids love watermelon and any way I can get some form of fruit in them is fine by me! I will serve them watermelon until it is coming out of their ears!


18 marla May 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

Such a beautiful cocktail!!


19 Brooke @ Food Woolf May 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Wow. My mouth is watering and I can’t wait to make this at home! Thanks for the inspiration.


20 Susan May 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Coming from a girl who knows her way around the bar (professionally), I am going to take this as a compliment! Thanks, Brooke!


21 Mercedes May 22, 2012 at 7:40 am

Wow, the color of this cocktail could not be more beautiful and enticing!


22 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:01 am

Hi Mercedes – one would think that watermelon juice would be really transparent, but it wasn’t. It all just seemed to work!! Thanks for stopping by!


23 Lori @ RecipeGirl May 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

This is a summer time must-make!


24 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:02 am

Lori, I had so much puree that I froze some in ice cube trays. May have to whip up another batch this weekend! It was that good(even without the alcohol)!


25 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots May 23, 2012 at 9:19 am

This looks incredible! So refreshing…except my pregnant self won’t include the vodka. 😉


26 Susan May 23, 2012 at 9:22 am

Caroline – my non preggy self loves this drink without the vodka. My kids devoured it!!! Enjoy every moment right now – it’s all going to change in such a great way!


27 Caroline @ chocolate & carrots May 23, 2012 at 9:42 am

Ahh….I can’t wait (for the kid and the drink)! 😉


28 Susan May 23, 2012 at 9:50 am

It’s a love like you’ve never known (and then they turn 14!!).


29 Veronica of Muy Bueno May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm

What is summer without watermelon???…unheard of and down right criminal, no such thing right? Can’t wait to get my hands on a super sweet watermelon to make some of this summer in pitcher, sit under a shady tree, sip here and there, and maybe take a little siesta…gracias amiga!…


30 Susan May 23, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Veronica, you are so right. Summer and watermelon go hand in hand. And, here in L.A., it already feels like summer. My kids are outside on their bikes, tonight we grilled our entire dinner, and even though it’s still a school night, we are discussing walking to get ice cream. The count down to official summer vacation begins!!!


31 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 25, 2012 at 2:27 am

I like the idea of throwing in a bit of basil, sounds like the perfect compliment to the fresh watermelon.


32 Bridget July 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I love this drink so much! We actually add a splash of sparkling wine instead of Selzer. 😉 Delish! I would like to put the drink together this summer while watermelon and basil are in season and serve it early next Spring? Do you think the combined purée, simple syrup and lime juice would freeze well together for a few months?


33 Susan August 3, 2014 at 10:10 am

Hi Bridget – I think that is a brilliant idea. Yes, freeze your simple syrup. I am so glad you like this drink. We, too, love it and it’s great for company!


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