Drink of the Week: The Watermelon Mint Margarita.
Want to make your Labor Day all the more festive and impress your friends with some mad cocktail skills? Then this is definitely the drink you want to make! We like to think of Labor Day as “Here’s to September” Day and not summer is over (don’t ever ever celebrate that). And there is no better way to celebrate September and leverage the abundance of watermelons than with this drink.
But first, let’s start by way of a story
Long ago, way before Brian and I were Brian-and-I, Brian was my boss’ boss (more on that later. maybe) and started to throw happy hours for the whole staff at his house. My young, cool colleagues told me I should go. At the time, I found Brian kind of intimidating and had never actually talked to him one on one. Thus, I intentionally came to the happy hour late with the explicit hope that the happiness would be well underway and I could slide in unnoticed. Alas, when I showed up outside his house (late mind you!), I realized I was the first person there. I waited in my car for a solid 10 minutes hoping someone else would arrive. Wrong. I decided I was being ridiculous and marched on in (marched = tiptoed). Brian had this whole impressive spread laid out: olives, nuts, grilled meat, artisanal cheese (I don’t actually know what counts as artisanal but you know it seemed nice), and two pitchers full of this very drink. Much to my surprise, we had this very pleasant conversation and chatted non-stop till all of my tardy colleagues arrive. I learned that night that a) Brian wasn’t the intimidating bossman I thought he was and b) that he made a killer drink.
The drink tasted like a summer night, and I promise that everyone we have served it has loved it–our friends who rarely ever drink and our friends who do the opposite. I promise it will become a staple in your party throwing, and, who knows, maybe it will find its way into a love story of your own.
The Watermelon Mint Margarita
We’re going to give you the recipe 2 ways:
The Extrovert Edition: Use this version if you’re having a party.When we host, we like to go big and are thus constantly thinking of ways to serve great drinks to large numbers of people. We give you more instructions because we’re trying to help you bring your great cocktail making skills to scale, and still enjoy your own party. It makes 16-20 servings.
The Introvert Edition: Use this single batch recipe for a date night or a small gathering with a couple of friends. It’s straightforward and makes 4-6 servings.
The Extrovert Edition
Ie- your large, awesome labor day party
- 1/2 of a large watermelon or 1 small watermelon
- 2 c tequila
- 6 limes
- 1 c sugar
- 60 mint leaves (approx 8 mint sprigs)
- 4 large glasses
Servings: 16-20 depending on how generous you pour
Step 1: Cut & freeze watermelon (night before)
Take your watermelon and cut it into 1-2 in. chunks. Uniformity is not important. Throw into ziplock bags or a large tupperware and put into freezer the night before. Or the day before or 2 weeks before.
This is by far the trickiest part of this drink as it requires an iota of planning ahead. Despite our best attempts, you can’t speed up the freezing process, and we’ve looked: no one sells frozen watermelon.
Step 2: Line up 4 large glasses
We like to make drink making as easy as possible. These will be the glasses in which you will put all of the ingredients (with the exception of the watermelon). This will allow you to quickly make batch after batch–ahead of time if you have a massive pitcher–or during the party and still not have to miss out on the party. We’ve divided the amounts up for what will fit into a normal sized blender.
Step 3: Mint
You’re looking for approximately 20 mint leaves per glass. Precision doesnt matter here so take 2-3 mint sprigs and put all the leaves in each glass.
Step 4: Zest 4 limes
Put 1 lime’s worth of the zest in each of the 4 glasses.
Step 5: Tequila
Using a liquid measuring cup, pour 1/2 c of tequila into each of the glasses.
Step 6: Juice limes
Cut the 4 zested limes and the 2 remaining limes in half. Juice 1.5 limes into each glass. If you’re going for ease, you can also buy lime juice and pour 1/4 c into each glass.
Step 7: Sugar
Measure 1/4 c of sugar into each glass.
Step 8: frozen watermelon & ingredient glass
Fill the blender 5/6 full of frozen watermelon.
Take one of the ingredient glasses. Stir to make sure the sugar hasn’t settled in the bottom.
Pour into the blender full of frozen watermelon
Step 9: Blend until smooth
Blend until smooth. You may need to turn your blender off, stir, and then turn it back on a few times.
Step 10: Serve, garnish, enjoy
Garnish glasses with lime wedges and remaining mint sprigs. Salted rims are a great addition, but we save that for smaller parties where it’s more manageable. If you have a large pitcher and want to make the whole batch ahead of time, transfer the margarita into the pitcher and then repeat steps 8-9. If not, repeat steps 8-9 when your guests are ready for more. Either way you’ll want to keep the blender or pitcher in the freezer until 10-15 minutes before serving. Keep a large spoon on hand to give it swirl as it has a tendency to separate some when melting.
Steps 3-7 can all be done well ahead of time before your party guests arrive. Huge time saver. You don’t want to be zesting lime inside while your friends are all outside.
People will drink this like it’s a smoothie and thus we highly recommend you serve it in smaller glasses (ie: not 160z solo cups).
We hardly ever have leftovers but when we do it’s sad because this is what the drink looks like. It’s a drink thats meant to be consumed on the spot.
The Introvert Edition
Ie- your cozy, low-key night w. your top people
- 4c of watermelon (approximately 1/8 of a large watermelon)
- 1/2 c tequila
- 2 limes
- 1/4 c sugar
- 20 mint leaves (approx 2 mint sprigs)
- Cut watermelon into cubes and freeze the night before.
- In the blender, combine frozen watermelon, zest of 1 lime, sugar, and tequila.
- Cut the zested lime and remaining lime in half. Put the juice of 1.5 of the limes in blender. Alternatively if you’re not a fan of juicing, just add a 1/4 c of bottled lime juice.
- Cut the remaining half of lime into wedges for garnish.
- Blend all ingredients. Keep blender in freezer until 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve.
- Right before serving, stir margarita with large wooden spoon. Pour into 5 oz glasses. Garnish as desired. Enjoy.
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