Cool, refreshing and festive: Watermelon margaritas

by Patricia on July 6, 2009 · 7 comments

When planning our fourth of July party, I knew I wanted to offer a cocktail. I expected most of the guys to drink beer, but that the ladies would appreciate something light and refreshing.  I was looking for something that said summer.

Watermelon margarita

I found inspiration flipping through the latest issue of Gourmet: Watermelon Margarita Ice Pops.  Mmm. That sounded good. I didn’t feel like ice pops exactly, but they were onto something with the watermelon.  So I closed my eyes and repeated “watermelon margaritas” three times. Then set off to create something that would do the fruit justice.

Watermelon margarita

By no means do I think this is a first. I know plenty of people have made watermelon (and many other flavored) margaritas.  But I didn’t want to follow someone else’s recipe. I wanted to “wing it” and drink any mistakes.  But the reviews were positive. Everyone went back for a second glass. The watermelon was light and refreshing… the perfect prelude to sliders, hot dogs, baked beans, and pie.

Watermelon margaritas (makes 1 pitcher, about 8 glasses)

10 cups watermelon cubed (This becomes about 4 cups of juice after pureeing and straining)
juice of 1 lime
3-6  tablespoons simple syrup (recipe follows)
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or some other coarse salt)
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
watermelon wedges, for garnish

1. Mix sugar and salt.  Put on a small plate or shallow bowl. This is to rim the glasses later.
2. Puree watermelon cubes in blender. I had to do it in two batches.
3. Strain the pureed watermelon to remove a lot of the pulpiness.
4. In a pitcher, mix watermelon juice with tequila, Gran Marnier, and lime juice.  Add simple syrup to taste. (I used about 5 tablespoons).
5. To serve: run a lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Dip the rim into the sugar-salt mixture. Add ice to the glass.  Fill glass with watermelon margarita (be sure to stir it in the pitcher before pouring because it can separate and settle). Squeeze lime wedge into glass. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon.

* Notes:

  • The watermelon cubes filled my blender twice. So as cubes, it was about 10 cups. But once pureed and strained, it was 4 cups of juice.
  • Tequila: I really like Cazadores Reposado.  It’s light in color and flavor. Even the people who cringe at the smell of tequila seem to like it (you know, those people who have maybe spent a couple of happy-turned-ugly nights with Señor Cuervo). Another thing I like about Cazadores is I can usually find a pretty big bottle of it at Costco for a decent price.  Mind you, I am no tequila connessieur, I just know what I like.
  • I think any mild, orange-flavored liqueur would work (Cointreau, triple sec).
  • The tequila and Grand Marnier amounts were enough to just barely taste the alcohol. You can certainly make these stronger, but this was a nice easy-sipping margarita that folks could have more than one and not feel too impaired (well, except for lightweights like me).
  • My friend Christine made an interesting suggestion that I think I’ll try out next time: add some chili and lime to the the sugar/salt for rimming the glasses.
  • If the lime wedges and watermelon wedges are too many garnishes to deal with, you could just add more lime juice to the pitcher instead.

Simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

1. In a medium pot, heat sugar and water to a boil.
2. Stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Allow it to cool, store in a bottle or jar in the refrigerator.
4. Use it in drinks.


1 eviedee July 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I just made these to take to a 4th of July BBQ. I had to add twice the tequila to suit my booze loving tastebuds but otherwise was a perfect recipe! My husband loved the chili pepper addition to the salted and sugared rim. Thanks for making our 4th more festive!

2 Kate July 14, 2009 at 4:36 am

These sound great! I am always searching for great drinks to serve as guests arrive. Thanks for sharing.

3 jillian July 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm

This sounds so good for a summer BBQ! I have bookmarked it for when I get around to hosting one.

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