Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca

Sip the season away with this refreshing watermelon drink.

Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner
Prep Time:
5 mins
Start To Finish Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
5 mins

This recipe for Smoky Watermelon-Mezcal Fresca, from author Katherine Cobb's book Pantry Cocktails, is one of the most refreshing things you can drink in the summertime. The bright pink drink is easy to whip together in a blender, and it has a few fancy touches that make it memorable. The rim of the glass is coated in a mixture of smoked sea salt and lime crystals (such as True Lime), for a bold smoky-tangy flavor. (You can use regular sea salt and lime zest if you prefer.)

Cobbs says: "Freezing watermelon cubes amps up the chill of this frothy refresher right out of the blender. This drink is a mash-up of a watermelon aqua fresca and a Paloma cocktail that gets its fizz from sweet grapefruit soda—I like to use Squirt or Jarritos. For a less sweet drink, use club soda. To really highlight the smokiness of the mezcal, you might consider grilling ½-inch-thick watermelon wedges over direct high heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side to develop a nice char. Cool the fruit before cutting it up to freeze."

This recipe makes one cocktail but it's easy to scale it up for a larger crowd if you want to serve it in a pitcher.

Recipe excerpted from Pantry Cocktails, and used with permission from Simon and Schuster


  • 2 teaspoons smoked sea salt flakes, such as Maldon

  • ½ teaspoon (2 packets) lime crystals, such as True Lime, or fresh lime zest

  • Grapefruit wedge

  • 1 cup frozen cubed watermelon

  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda or club soda

  • 1 ½ ounces mezcal

  • ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

  • Watermelon wedge

  • Lime wheel


  1. Rim a Collins glass if desired. Fill the glass with ice and set aside.

  2. Make the Smoke-Tart Rim Salt. Combine the sea salt flakes, such as Maldon, and lime crystals or lime zest on a saucer. Rub the lip of the Collins glass with the grapefruit wedge. Invert the glass on the saucer and twist to coat the rim. This will rim about 2 drinks.

  3. Combine the watermelon, grapefruit soda, mezcal, and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour over ice in the prepared glass and garnish with watermelon wedge and lime wheel.

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