Watermelon Cooler: The Perfect Summer Time Drink

Looking for the perfect summer time drink, one that's refreshing and kid-friendly but easily adapted for grownup tastes? Try this Watermelon Cooler!

Happy Labor Day! Do you have any final end-of-summer festivities planned for today? My mama recently shared this recipe with me for the perfect refreshing summertime drink: an easy-to-make Watermelon Cooler that kids and grown-ups alike will find cool and refreshing.

This drink nicely solves the problem of what to do with all that leftover watermelon after you buy a huge one for your summer picnic. And its light, refreshing taste makes it a fun and tasty way to help kiddos stay hydrated in summer heat, thanks to watermelon’s naturally high water content.

So if you’re looking for something different to cool off with on this unofficial last-day-of-summer, give this refreshing beverage (or one of the variations listed at the end) a try!

Watermelon Cooler

For this version, we used pale pink watermelon and mint from my mama’s own garden!

Prep time: 5 min* Total time: 5 min Makes approx. 1 quart

*The 5 min. prep time for the beverage itself assumes that you’ve already cut the watermelon into chunks, removed the seeds, and chilled it in the refrigerator.

What you’ll need:

  • 6-8 cups watermelon chunks, seeds removed, chilled (refrigerated or slightly frozen)
  • Approx. 1/2 c. lemon juice (more or less to taste)
  • Approx. 1/4 c. loosely packed mint leaves (more or less to taste)

The basic idea:

Adding the mint and lemon juice
  1. Purée the watermelon in the blender; for best results, add 2 c. to start and add in more a little at a time.
  2. As you add more watermelon, add in the lemon juice and mint leaves.
  3. Serve immediately (garnished with a sprig of mint, if you like); if you don’t drink it all right away, put the rest in the refrigerator until you’re ready to consume, then pulse in the blender just before pouring.

Mix it up:

  • It’s best to start with a seedless watermelon, but still be sure to check carefully for seeds as you cut the melon into chunks.
  • You can use any color watermelon you like – the familiar red version, or the harder-to-find yellow or “pink lemonade” (pale pink) variations. For this batch, we used some pale pink melon from my mama’s own garden! (And mint from her backyard, too!)
  • The drink as described above is non-alcoholic and thus kid-friendly. If you’re making it just for grownups, you can add 2 oz. (1/8 c.) white rum per 8-oz serving (1/2 c. per blenderful), if you like. My mama and I tried adding white rum to our glasses when we made a pitcherful the other night, and it was quite tasty – imagine a delicately-flavored watermelon daiquiri.
  • You can add a little ice during the blending process if you really want to, but that will dilute the flavor, so I don’t recommend it. Instead, consider freezing at least some of the watermelon before you start.
  • Instead of lemon juice, try it with lime juice. Or consider experimenting with other herbs (rosemary, lavender, etc.) and/or other “adult” additions.

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