Spicy Watermelon Refresher

Like a spicy margarita, but way better.

Spicy Watermelon Refresher
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
8 serves

We're no strangers to the world of Southern porch cocktails—just ask the crowd-favorite sip of heaven that is our watermelon margaritas. Far and wide, Southerners make that recipe to hang out together and enjoy the close of another lovely day.

Well, now we've turned it up a notch by adding a spicy kick and zingy fizz for an easy watermelon refresher you'll make over and over again.

Serrano peppers pack a serious punch, so we call for only half a pepper to get your glass going. From there, fresh watermelon you can find at your local farmers' market is going to mellow out the heat and add classic summer flavor. Finish with tequila reposado (which is slightly smokier than regular tequila and incredibly smooth) and seltzer for a well-balanced cocktail that won't put you under the picnic table.

Those wanting a weaker sipper can add a splash more of seltzer as desired. Sit back, relax, and get your spicy watermelon spritzer on.


  • 1/4 batch Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 seeded and chopped serrano chile (about 1 Tbsp.)

  • 3 cups cubed seedless watermelon (about 2 lb.)

  • 3/4 cup (6 oz.) tequila reposado

  • 1 (12 oz.) can watermelon-flavored or plain seltzer water

  • Garnish: salt for rim, chile slices, and watermelon wedges


  1. Prepare ¼ batch of Simple Syrup; remove from heat. Stir in seeded and chopped serrano chile. Cover and steep 30 minutes. Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids. Cool to room temperature, 1 hour.

  2. While syrup cools, process cubed seedless watermelon in a blender until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Working in batches, pour watermelon puree through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl; discard solids.

  3. Pour watermelon juice into a 2- to 3-qt. pitcher. Stir in tequila reposado, watermelon-flavored or plain seltzer water, and cooled syrup. Salt the rims of 8 Collins glasses, and fill with ice. Pour cocktail evenly into glasses; garnish with chile slices and watermelon wedges.

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