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Nothing says summer like a freshly cut slice of watermelon. This recipe from our friends at the National Watermelon Promotion Board does the sweet fruit justice in the form of a boozy, colorful cocktail on the rocks. 

Gallery

Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

Yield:
2 margaritas
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The best watermelon margarita requires a really tasty watermelon to carry the day. A watermelon that has soaked up the summer sun and ripened to sweet perfection delivers the ideal balance of sweetness and watermelon flavor. To select a ripe watermelon, pick it up and give it a thump—it should make a deep, hollow sound and feel heavy for its size. 

To capture that summery flavor, you'll make a watermelon simple syrup, then blend up some of the remaining melon to make fresh watermelon juice, for a one-two-punch of watermelon essence. That's the mixologist's inside tip for making the best watermelon 'rita you've ever tasted.

The best watermelon margarita will make your Memorial Day, July 4th, or any summer picnic into a special occasion to remember!

Ingredients for the Best Watermelon Margarita

Of course, the watermelon is going to make or break your margarita. We call for a seedless watermelon to streamline the process, but some folks swear that the older varieties of seeded melon have better flavor. If you're buying at a Farmer's Market, ask the farmer for recommendations.

A stellar watermelon is heavy for its size and should have a "belly" side, which is the pale yellow spot where the melon rested as it soaked up the sun. If the melon is evenly green, it's probably not ripe.

Love watermelon? Read our Watermelon Cocktail Guide, make a slushy-style Watermelon-Mint Margarita, or try these Watermelon Margarita Pops.

Tequila for a Classic Watermelon Margarita

You'll use silver tequila, also called blanco or white tequila, for a mild flavor. It's colorless because it hasn't been aged, unlike reposado tequilas, which are more golden in color. The pale spirit will keep your watermelon margarita an appealing shade of pink and bursting with watermelon flavor.

Variations

If you want less sugar in your watermelon margarita, you can use agave nectar. Tequila is made from agave, so it's a natural fit. Use 1/3 less, or 2/3 cup in place of 1 cup sugar, and select a mild, lighter colored agave syrup so it won't overwhelm the watermelon.

For a sunny yellow watermelon margarita, buy a yellow watermelon. They tend to be mild and sweet and have the same delectable watermelon flavor we love.

How to Make Watermelon Margaritas

Once your special melon makes it home, it's a snap to make it into watermelon juice and syrup. To start serving up juicy watermelon margaritas, just combine the syrup, juice, tequila, and fresh lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake until your drink is perfectly chilled and well-blended. It's up to you whether you strain it into the glass, or serve your watermelon margarita on the rocks.

How to Serve Watermelon Margaritas

If you've got a set of margarita or daiquiri glasses, you are all set. Small goblets, champagne coupes, martini glasses, and stemless wineglasses can stand-in with gorgeous results.

Your margaritas are fabulous right out of the shaker, but it can be fun to add a special touch. For extra pizzazz, rub a lime around the rim of the glass, and if desired, dip in coarse salt or sugar. Garnish with a juicy slice of melon for extra sparkle.

Watermelon Margaritas for a Crowd

Keep it simple on the day of your party by making the syrup up to four days in advance, and make the juice up to eight hours before serving.

Editorial contributions by Robin Asbell.

Ingredients

Watermelon Simple Syrup
Watermelon Juice
Margarita

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • FOR SIMPLE SYRUP: Combine the watermelon and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a potato masher or another utensil to mash the watermelon and sugar together, pushing out the liquid and dissolving the sugar. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl or jar, pressing the watermelon to extract all the liquid. Set aside to cool completely. Makes just over 1 cup of simple syrup.

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  • FOR WATERMELON JUICE: Combine the watermelon and water in a blender. Blend until smooth, pour through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl or jar.

  • Combine the tequila, watermelon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds, and pour into glasses rimmed with lime juice and coarse salt. Garnish with lime wedges and serve imediately.

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