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Refreshing Mezcal Melonrita

One of my favorite additions to a cocktail is the surprising, underused mezcal. Mezcal presents all the boozy bang you get in tequila with an added smokiness that will thrill your taste buds. In the summer, I am always trying to find ways to incorporate mezcal into my cocktails. 

Typically, cocktails like the margarita or other tequila-featuring drinks, use mezcal as a replacement liquor to add piquant flavor. This cocktail uses a similar technique. The surprising taste of mezcal mixed with refreshing blended watermelon makes this Mezcal Melonrita hard to put down. (Drink responsibly.) 

Mezcal Melonrita
Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

The Ingredients 

  • Watermelon (blended) 
  • Ice
  • Juice of Orange
  • Juice of Lime
  • Mezcal
  • Extra ice or Frozen Watermelon Cubes
  • Orange or lime wedges for garnish
  • Salt for the rim of the glass (optional) 
Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Watermelon

One of the most refreshing flavors of summer, the watermelon, adds a cool, sweetness to this Mezcal Melonrita. Watermelons break down into the perfect liquidy goodness in a blender, making drinks feel lighter. After drinking one or two of these cocktails you feel exhilarated and energetic, ready to dance the night away. 

Cutting the Watermelon

Perhaps, the hardest part of making this cocktail is cutting the watermelon. Any ingredient that rolls around on the cutting board should be handled with caution and care. I used an extremely sharp knife for the easiest and best slice possible. Be sure to hold your watermelon still with one hand while slicing with the other. 

Scooping the watermelon

I used a 1/4 cup scoop to remove the insides of the watermelon. The scoop should be small enough to insert into the cut section of the watermelon. Don’t be afraid to really dig in and get plenty of watermelon in your scoop. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Blending the Watermelon

Be sure to blend the watermelon fully into a liquid for best textural results.

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Alternatives

Some alternative options to replace the watermelon include pineapple juice, coconut water, blended strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc… Any refreshing fruit will taste great in this drink.

I especially love including tropical island fruits, because they seem suitably stimulating in the summer. For a more exotically refreshing drink, try replacing watermelon with mango, papaya, lychee, or passionfruit.

Ice

Obviously, the ice makes this drink colder and fresher. 

Shaking Ice in a Shaker

How do you tell if your ingredients are well blended in the cocktail shaker?

The ice inside of the shaker will create fog on the outside of the shaker. If you can leave a mark in the fog after running your finger across the shaker, the ice has fully chilled the ingredients inside of the shaker, and the ingredients have blended together well. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Juice of an Orange

Half of the orange adds citrus and sweetness to your Mezcal Melonrita. The acid from the citrus pairs nicely with the smoky deliciousness of mezcal. 

Alternatives

Lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, or any other citruses can be used in place of oranges. Using grapefruits instead of oranges makes this cocktail more like a classic Paloma. You can also use extra lime if other citruses are not available. 

For a bigger boozy punch, try adding Cointreau, an orange-flavored liqueur, to your Mezcal Melonrita.

Limes 

You cannot have a margarita without limes. They add a necessary citrus/ acidic component to this delicious drink. 

Mezcal 

As mentioned before, mezcal incorporates smokey flavor into cocktails, adding warmth and character to your drink. This delicious drink is made by firing agave plants in a pit in the ground, crushing them, and fermenting them with a little added water. That charred flavor impacts your taste buds, adding a more savory element to balance out a drink that can veer more towards sweet. 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Alternatives

If you prefer a sweeter drink, rum or tequila can be used in place of mezcal. For those who do not drink alcohol, some great alternatives include sparkling water, tonic water, club soda, sprite, ginger ale, or Seedlip.

Extra Ice

Keeping your drink cold makes it more refreshing. Be sure to use extra ice for that revitalizing coolness we all look for in a drink

Alternatives

Ice melts, and extra water in a cocktail depletes the cocktail’s flavor. Instead of adding regular ice to your Mezcal Melonrita, you can try blending scoops of watermelon into liquid form and adding them into an ice tray. Freeze them. As they melt in your beautiful cocktail, you will taste more watermelon rather than dealing with watered-down ingredients in your once bright and flavorful cocktail. 

Orange Slices

Use your citrus twice by adding a lime or orange garnish on the side of your drink. Cut a small slit in the middle of a lime or orange slice. Balance the citrus garnish on the rim of the glass by its split section. This not only adds beauty and extra color to your Mezcal Melonrita, but it also gives the cocktail drinker an opportunity to personalize their drink by squeezing a little extra sour or sweet taste from the citrus. 

Salting the Rim 

A useful trick in bartending is adding salt to the rim of drinks. The salt awakens your taste buds and brings out the sweet and sour flavors in this drink. The smokey mezcal also finds its savory match by this addition.

To add salt to the rim of your glass, simply rub your orange or lime wedge around the glass’s rim, creating a wet surface. Once the rim is wet, flip your glass over, and dip it into a bowl of salt or seasoning of your choice. 

Alternatives

You can add almost any seasoning to the rim of your glass. I love incorporating more Latin flavors into the drink as margaritas (the classic version of this cocktail) are most commonly associated with Latin culture and cuisine. Try using Cayenne, Guajillo chili powder, Ancho chili powder, Chile de Arbol, habanero powder, etc… 

Photo by: Brodie Porterfield

Pairings

Mezcal Melonritas pair beautifully with lots of foods. Whether you are serving it before a meal or during, you will have many options that will marry well with the refreshing flavors found in this drink. 

For starters, this beautiful watermelon, feta salad will enhance the watermelon experience. If you are like me, I love pairing cheese with cocktails and wine.

Watermelon finds a friendly match in feta cheese and goat cheese. Mixing in herbs with these cheeses like mint, basil, or cilantro adds extra freshness. 

Fruits and veggies also pair nicely with Mezcal Melonritas. Try serving cucumbers and hummus, cantaloupe and orange fruit salad, brie cheeses, covered in blackberries, drizzled with honey and pistachios, jicama with fennel and lime juice, etc… 

If you plan to drink these delicious libations with your dinner, they go great with cookout food and family favorites like fried chicken, ribs, and BBQ sandwiches. The nod to margaritas this drink makes fashions it as a suitable companion to Latin and Latin American foods. Burritos, tacos, taco salad, chili con crema, Paella etc… all meld well with a mezcal melonrita. The drink does a great job of cooling your taste buds after a spicy feast. 

 These 2 dips would also pair great with your Mezcal Melonrita.

For a fancy lunch, gazpacho or a leafy green salad with pomegranates and chicken tastes great with this drink. 

After you drink your Mezcal Melonrita keep the melon taste on your tongue with one of these fun melon sour beers:

Briney Melon Gose

Magic Melon Watermelon Gose

For dessert, a rice pudding with exotic spices or extra vanilla will pair nicely with your drink. 

One of Summer’s Favorite Flavors

In the summer sun, this drink is especially replenishing. The watermelon hydrates your body while the mezcal gives you an invigorating kick. For any cocktail lover (those who like it super sweet, those who like it smokey, etc…) this cocktail tastes balanced and delicious. 

This Mezcal Melonrita is simple and swift to make, so make yourself one of these delicious drinks, and dive in.  

Mezcal Melonrita

Mezcal Melonrita

Yield: 2

The surprising taste of mezcal mixed with refreshing blended watermelon makes this Mezcal Melonrita hard to put down. (Drink responsibly.)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Scoop of Watermelon (blended)
  • Lots of Ice
  • Juice of 1/2 an Orange
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Mezcal
  • Extra ice or Frozen Watermelon Cubes
  • Orange or lime wedges for garnish
  • Salt for the rim of the glass (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the top section of the watermelon off, making sure the opening is large enough for a 1/4 cup scoop to fit into the flesh of the watermelon. Use 1/4 cup scoop to remove 1/2 cup (2 scoops) of watermelon flesh from the inside of the watermelon. Place watermelon scoops in a blender and blend until liquefied.
  2. Fill a shaker with 6- ice cubes and pour watermelon liquid into the shaker.
  3. Squeeze the juice of half of an orange into the shaker.
  4. Squeeze the juice of a lime into the shaker.
  5. Fill the large side of your jigger with mezcal twice, pouring it into your shaker after measuring. (be careful as some mezcals leave a worm in the bottle.)
  6. Pour Mezcal Melonrita through a strainer into glasses.
  7. Add more ice for extra refreshment, an orange wedge for decoration, or use glasses with salted rims for an extra savory taste. (this step is optional.)
  8. Enjoy!

For other cocktail ideas, visit these recipe links:

Dangerously Delicious Apple Cider Rye Cocktail

Cherry Vodka Sour

Phenomenal Fig Pizza
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