Florida Fresh Watermelon Cocktails

How to Use Fresh Watermelon in Your Cocktails

By Laura Fagan Published July 2022

Watermelon is the ultimate summertime treat - it's cool, sweet and synonymous with fun in the sun. This melon makes a refreshing seasonal snack and doubles as a delicious cocktail mix-in.

In Florida, we have the ideal climate to grow several watermelon varieties, including Jubilee, Crimson Sweet, Sugar Baby and Moons & Stars. Due to Florida’s lengthy growing season, watermelon is available nearly year-round with peak watermelon season running through the summer months. Fun fact: Florida is the only state to harvest watermelons from December through April because producers can plant seeds twice - once in the spring for a summer harvest and once in the fall.

Florida watermelons are widely available, feed the crowd and store easily. Plus, there are countless ways to enjoy this juicy, red fruit. You can add it to salads, pickle it, grill it and – most importantly – sip it! Check out our top Florida watermelon cocktails that are perfect for summertime sipping below.

Thirst Trap

For a fresh watermelon drink that entices a response and likely a fierce cocktail selfie, shake together this original cocktail from our Farm to Cocktail series. We hit the road to source fresh ingredients from local farms and have some of Florida’s most popular bars craft new cocktails. This herbaceous and lightly sweet concoction is the genius of our Gainesville episode. Straight from the heart of Gator Country, Cry Baby’s (a self-proclaimed high class dive bar) hand-crafted the Thirst Trap for ABC showcasing fresh watermelon from Bass Farms to create a one-of-a-kind Florida-grown cocktail that is a must try.

Thirst Trap

The Recipe:

*Thai Basil Watermelon Shrub:

  • 4 cups fresh watermelon, cubed

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup white vinegar

  • 5-6 Thai basil leaves

  • ½ tablespoon green Sichuan peppercorn

For Thai basil watermelon shrub: Cut watermelon up into cubes and add to a large container. Add sugar and mash watermelon until it reaches roughly the consistency of puree and there are no large chunks remaining. Add the water, vinegar, Thai basil and peppercorns. Stir until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate in a covered container for 24-48 hours. Then, strain with a fine mesh strainer or through a cheese cloth. The shrub will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

For cocktail: Add rum, shrub and lime juice to a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass over fresh ice. Top with soda water and garnish with Thai basil.

Watch our full Farm to Cocktail: Watermelon adventure:

 

Cîroc Watermelon Refresh

Take advantage of a limited release, infused vodka from Cîroc to mix up this delightful watermelon bubbler. The Cîroc Watermelon Refresh uses freshly sliced or cubed watermelon to add natural sweetness. This cocktail is tasty and guilt-free with no sugary syrups, making it the perfect drink to sip on all summer long.

Cîroc Watermelon Refresh

The Recipe:

Add vodka to a glass with ice. Top with soda water and garnish with a watermelon slice and mint sprig.

Don’t Rind If I Do

Who doesn’t love a punny drink? For a tropical watermelon cocktail with a clever name, try this rum-based drink featuring Palms Watermelon Rum. With fresh watermelon juice, sweet agave, mint and Barbados rum, this cocktail will transport you to an island oasis. Try it shaken on your next beach day, boat day or pool day.

Don’t Rind If I Do

The Recipe:

*Watermelon Juice:

  • 2 cups watermelon chunks

  • 1 lime, juiced

  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves

For the watermelon juice: Combine watermelon chunks, lime juice and mint leaves in a blender. Blend until smooth and double strain into a container.

For the cocktail: Add rum, agave and watermelon juice to a shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with watermelon, a mint sprig and lime wheels.

Whisky Watermelon Smash

This crowd-pleasing batch watermelon cocktail will be the highlight of all your seasonal parties and BBQs. Your guests can beat the summer heat with a chilled Whiskey Watermelon Smash made memorable with a hint of cilantro. If you are feeling extra ambitious, you can even turn your watermelon shell into a drink dispenser after scooping out the contents for your cocktails.

Whisky Watermelon Smash

The Recipe:

Add whiskey, sparkling water, simple syrup, watermelon cubes, lemon juice and cilantro to a pitcher. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, stir to combine and serve over ice.

Agave Spiked Spritzer

This summer spritzer is both refreshing and refined with subtle citrus and watermelon flavors. It’s shaken with fragrant, French rosé and 100% blue agave tequila to create a premium summertime drink that would elevate any seasonal event, dinner party or cocktail hour.

Agave Spiked Spritzer

The Recipe:

In a cocktail shaker, muddle watermelon and 1 rosemary sprig. Add the remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

Tanqueray Watermelon

This colorful watermelon cocktail is simple, yet delivers sophisticated flavors. Fresh fruit juices and gin are combined to create an easy-sipping summertime favorite that is bright and beautiful. This is the perfect drink to level up your leftover watermelon.

Tanqueray Watermelon

The Recipe:

Add gin and both juices to a glass over fresh ice. Stir to combine and garnish with a watermelon slice.

Watermelon Frosé

This Watermelon Frosé is the ultimate summer slushy and one of our personal favorites. You just can’t beat frozen rosé blended with homemade watermelon syrup on hot summer days. This cocktail takes a little prep work, but we promise it’s worth it! Plus, the watermelon syrup doubles as a delicious treat to drizzle over ice cream or other desserts.

Watermelon Frosé

The Recipe:

*Watermelon Simple Syrup:

  • 2 cups watermelon, cubed

  • ⅓ cup sugar

For the watermelon simple syrup: Put two cups of watermelon cubes in a blender, reserving a few pieces for garnish. Blend until smooth and strain juice into a cup, discarding all the pulp. Put ¾ of the watermelon juice (reserve remaining juice for cocktail) in a saucepan and heat on low. Stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the cocktail: Freeze rosé in two ice cube trays. Once frozen, place rosé ice cubes, watermelon-sugar mixture and lime juice into the blender. Blend until slushy. Add small amounts of remaining watermelon juice if the slush is too thick to blend. Scoop into a glass and garnish with a watermelon cube and basil leaf.

Looking for other drink recipes to fuel your summertime fun? Check out our full list of recipes online and stop by your local ABC to grab everything you need to mix up your favorite cocktails.

Interested in learning more? Visit our ABC Articles page.