Every summer, melons take over pretty much everyone's palettes — and their high water content manages to keep us all hydrated in the form of salads and fancy melon infused water. Never one to shy away from nutrients while I drink, I decided to pay tribute to melon season with some original, easy melon-inspired cocktail ideas that are the perfect accoutrement for a hot summer night.
If you’re under the impression that all melons are the same, think again: while they each share similar thirst-quenching qualities, the inside of these old-world fruits contain unique flavors and nutrients. Watermelon gets its rich red color from lycopene, which colors out tomatoes and repairs damaged cells. Cantaloupe’s soft orange coloring comes from beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A once consumed and the meat of a honeydew is rich in both vitamin C and fiber.
Even if you don't like melons, once you sip one of these scrumptious melon cocktails, I promise you'll be converted. You certainly don’t need to have bartending experience to concoct melon cocktails for you and your squad, in fact, we all have an inner mixologist waiting to come out for times like this. Channel yours and have fun revving up these spins on classic cocktails.
Frozen Watermelon Julep
There are quite a few versions of juleps, and more often than not they vary from the original beverage, which is the official Kentucky Derby cocktail. This one in particular is frozen though — and of course, it’s boozy, delicious, and beautiful. Here’s what you’ll need to get down, Julep style:
- 2 ounces of Nomad Outland Whiskey
- 1/2 ounce of lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce of watermelon simple syrup
- Crushed ice (optional)
- Slice open the watermelon and cut into small pieces for easy blending.
- Transfer to a blender. Power on until smooth consistency is reached.
- Add the juice to a small pot and heat on medium until it starts to boil.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar, the amount is flexible based on how sweet you want the syrup and how sweet your particular melon tastes on its own.
- Let simmer to allow the syrup to thicken, stirring occasionally. This can take anywhere from a 1/2 hour to one hour, but be sure to keep an eye out because you don't want the syrup to boil over.
- When the consistency becomes similar to tomato sauce, transfer to a sealable container and store in fridge.
To make the cocktail complete, follow these steps:
- In a mixing glass, add simple syrup, lemon juice, and whiskey. Stir and set aside.
- Build your julep in a rocks glass and fill with crushed ice.
- Pour the contents from the mixing glass over the ice
- Add a mint sprig garnish.
If crushed ice is too much work, you can get the same pleasure and more flavor by simply pouring the ingredients over ice in a rocks glass.
What’s crisp, gentle in flavor, green, and totally hydrating? Honeydew melon, and it’s about to give cucumbers a run for their money. This recipe is super easy to make and a great cocktail to have with you as you cook dinner. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/2 ounce of lime juice
- 2 ounces of The London No. 1 Gin
- ¾ ounce of honeydew puree
- 1 ounce of ginger beer
First, let’s get the honeydew puree out of the way:
1. Cut the honeydew melon in slices; if you're planning to make a batch of puree for parties or future use, slice the whole melon, discarding the rind.
2. Use a food processor or blender to puree the the honeydew, cutting the melon in smaller pieces to suit the power of your blender.
3. Transfer puree to a sealable container.
To make the cocktail:
- Combine the puree, gin, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice.
- Cover and shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass
- Add fresh ice and top with ginger beer.
- Garnish with a slice of melon and serve
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with mojitos for almost 10 years. As a bartender, I and my fellow ‘tenders loathed to make them, and by association, loathed the people who ordered them. However, as a person who is not at work and loves fun? I am all about amping up mojitos around the world with this cantaloupe inspired classic. Sorry, fellow bartenders…
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4-5 fresh mint leaves
- 2 slices of lime
- 2 ounce of Mantuano Diplomático Rum
- 3/4 ounce of cantaloupe puree
- 1 teaspoon of fine brown sugar
Again, you'll start by making the cantaloupe puree first:
- Cut the cantaloupe in slices; if you're planning to make a batch of puree for parties or future use, slice the whole melon, discarding the rind.
- Add small cantaloupe slices and your desired amount of sugar directly into a food processor or blender.
- Power on your device until you have a nice pureed consistency.
- Transfer puree to a sealable container.
To make the mojito:
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle lime and 3 mint leaves together.
- Add puree and rum
- Fill the shaker up with ice and shake like it's the last drink you'll ever have.
- Transfer to a rocks glass, dirty ice and all and top off with seltzers.
My love of sangria knows no bounds, and neither does my love of melons for that matter — the only problem I have is it can taste too sweet. This sangria isn’t too sweet or boozy, though, and it’s bursting with melon flavor. Here’s what you’ll need for a 24 ounce batch of this recipe:
- 8 ounces of melon juice
- 2 ounces of lime juice
- 12 ounces of dry white wine
- 1 ounce of brandy
1. Make the melon juice first by blending a combination of watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew, about three to four cubes of sliced fruit each.
2. Use a mesh strainer to remove the pulp and pour into a pitcher. If you prefer pulp, skip the strainer and pour directly into a pitcher.
3. Cut fresh slices of each melon for garnishes that will be even more delightful once their soaked in booze.
4. Retrieve the pitcher and add lime, wine, and brandy.
You can dump the fruit straight in and top off each glass with seltzer. Bring with you to parties and you’ll be the Bell or Beau of the cook-out.
Bellini's are a popular brunch fave that can be enjoyed year round all day long, So if you've found yourself hosting a brunch that goes way into the late afternoon, you'll be thankful to have this honeydew bellini to help you forget what time it is. You can whip a glass up with just two ingredients:
- 1/2 ounce of pureed honeydew melon per each glass
- 1 bottle of prosecco
1. Puree the honeydew melon as done in the previous bellini recipe and transfer to a sealable container.
2. Build your cocktail in a champagne flute or wine glass.
3. Add honeydew puree.
4. Fill glass a third of the way up with prosecco.
5. Gently stir and fill the rest of the glass with prosecco and serve.
Watermelon margaritas are a popular summer cocktail that will get you delightfully buzzed. Instead of racing to make happy hour, you can whip up your own water-rita in a few simple steps.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- ¾ ounce of watermelon simple syrup
- 1.5 ounce of Blue Nectar Silver Tequila
- ¾ ounce of cointreau
- .5 ounce of lime juice
- Make your watermelon syrup as you did for the julep and keep refrigerated.
- Add chilled watermelon syrup, tequila, cointreau, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker.
- Secure the lid and take a few moments to shake as obnoxiously as possible, dancing is encouraged to get the best possible results.
- Strain and transfer to a rocks glass, garnish with a lime and/or watermelon. Take a sip. Total bliss.
Now that you've got five great recipes, you can get mixing — but remember, please go bananas for your melon cocktails responsibly!