High temperatures aren't the best motivator for cooking, but somehow my kitchen still saw a lot of action over the weekend. The blender was buzzing, mixing up all kinds of frozen cocktails. I was also busy with the mortar and pestle grinding up mint and sugar for mojitos. The food processor even got a workout making cucumber purée for a cucumber and gin concoction.
But eventually cocktail hour was over and I opted for delivery tacos. Seeking out something cool and refreshing to pair with the assortment of al pastor and carnitas tacos, I thumbed through Robb Walsh's The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook for inspiration.
The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook has no shortage of Texas-style cocktails, but these Watermelon Margaritas seemed refreshing enough to cool us down even when the AC wasn't doing the trick. Instead of throwing all of the ingredients into the blender, Walsh uses the watermelon in two ways. First the melon is cut into cubes and gently juiced through a colander to make smooth, entirely seedless, and virtually pulpless juice. Then the watermelon cubes are transferred to the freezer to cool and take the place of ice cubes in the finished drinks.
Mixed with tequila, lemon and lime juice, and a bit of simple syrup, the finished margarita is the essence of watermelon flavor—sweet and just the tiniest bit tart with big chunks of frozen watermelon that quickly absorb the flavors, and make a great snack after you've drained the glass.
I rimmed my glasses with salt but next time I might go for sugar mixed with lime zest or even a mix of sugar, salt, and cayenne or even Tajín, a blend of salt, chile, and dehydrated lime—it works fantastically on fruit.
- 1/2 small watermelon
- 8 ounces simple syrup
- 4 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 12 ounces gold tequila
- 8 ounces watermelon liqueur
- 12 mint leaves
Cut the watermelon into 1-inch cubes, removing the seeds as you go. Place the cubes into a colander set inside a bowl. Stir the cubes gently to extract juice without breaking up the cubes. You should have at least 8 ounces of juice. Put the watermelon cubes on a tray and freeze until solid—about and hour.
Mix the syrup, lemon juice, and lime juice with the watermelon juice. To serve, divide the frozen cubes among 4 glasses. Add the tequila, then the liqueur, and then the juice mixture and stir. Garnish with the mint leaves.