A few summers ago, I was in the back yard of some friends for a Fourth of July potluck when someone came in carrying a container of watermelon cubes. They were quick to wave the kids away, as it was not just any watermelon, but TEQUILA-SOAKED WATERMELON!
Now, this combo might sound unusual at first, but let me promise you that something magical happens when these two ingredients are combined. I immediately fell in love with the combo and started making my own versions, tweaking it here and there. In no time at all, Tequila Watermelon became my 'signature' party contribution, to the point that I think I was invited to some parties just to bring this boozy melon creation!
Like many, I tried 'spiking' a watermelon with vodka in college. The method of cutting a hole and tipping up the bottle never really seemed to work. Not to mention, all it tasted like was vodka, stinging the tongue with alcohol sharpness. Tequila and watermelon is something else entirely. The sometimes spicy notes of tequila seem to fade away into almost floral-like flavors and by cutting the melon into cubes, it permeates each bite evenly. Follow the few pointers below for a fool-proof warm weather favorite!
What you will need:
1 large, ripe watermelon (seedless is ideal)
1 liter of good (but not necessarily expensive) 100% blue agave blanco tequila
Optional: fresh mint, lime or orange zest, orange flower water or flavored liqueur
Start by cutting the watermelon into large cubes. You want to have the pieces be anywhere from 1 - 1.5 inches, as if they are too small they can become somewhat soggy and lose that signature watermelon crunch.
Place the cubes of watermelon into gallon-sized zipper closure bags (get good ones, you don't want these to leak). I typically get two bags from an average watermelon.
For each gallon bag of watermelon chunks (be sure you can easily close the bag), add 1 cup of tequila. At this point in the process you can experiment by adding other elements, but trust me when I tell you that you won't need to add anything else to make this delicious. If you watermelon is not quite sweet enough you can add a tablespoon or two of granulated sugar. If you would like, you can add a little lime or orange zest - or a few spoonfuls of orange flower water. I have also had success adding 1/4 cup of orange liqueur, melon liqueur or even coconut-flavored tequila (yes, it exists and this was the best use I could find for it!). If you like mint, save that until the end...don't add it at the beginning.
Once you have added the tequila to the bag of watermelon, seal it well and turn the bag around a few times, ensuring coverage of each and every piece in the bag. Refrigerate for at least six hours (preferably overnight), turning the bags over 2-3 times during the process to make sure all pieces are submerged at some point. I like to put the bags in a container in the fridge just in case any precious juice should leak out.
When you are ready to serve, empty the bags into a serving bowl and garnish with fresh chopped mint (optional). There will be a TON of delicious watermelon/tequila juice in the bowl, so serve with a ladle to get that goodness into a glass!
After the party is over, save any watermelon you may have left (doubtful, but just in case) to blend into margaritas. Just throw some ice and the watermelon into a blender and enjoy!