Watermelon Coolers

Watermelon juice with mint and lime


A couple of weeks ago when I went back to Louisiana to visit family, I bought a watermelon for my mother and aunt because I know how much those ladies love their watermelon! During watermelon season my mother would eat watermelon all day, a tradition that I have carried on to this day. 🙂  As we were sitting there eating, these two lovely ladies starting talking about all the things they use to make with watermelon.  Of course watermelon rind preserves came up, as well as watermelon sorbet and watermelon juice. Apparently, they use to juice watermelons and then freeze the juice for later.  I guess when you have acres upon acres of watermelon, juicing a bunch of watermelon becomes a necessity because it’s something you can do quickly then freeze.  Personally, I’ve never made it a habit of juicing watermelon because I just love eating it too much.  However, when I do get one that isn’t very sweet, I will juice it.  The juice is usually sweeter than the watermelon itself, making it more enjoyable.

The conversation about watermelon got me thinking about a watermelon drink, one that could be made with or without alcohol like my Sweet Cucumber Drink. So one of the first things I did when I got home was to go out and buy another watermelon for the sole purpose of juicing it and coming up with a watermelon cocktail. Thank goodness the watermelon I bought ended up being one that I would have juiced anyway. It wasn’t very sweet until I juiced it. The juice had just the right amount of sweetness for the drink, so no additional sweetener was needed.

After a few attempts, the watermelon cooler that I ended up with is one that Bobby and I both enjoy and have been enjoying almost every afternoon for cocktail hour. This cooler is quite refreshing and makes a hot day instantly feel 10 degrees cooler. Since one watermelon yields A LOT  of juice, you can use some of the juice to make watermelon ice cubes.  Watermelon ice cubes help to make a very beautiful drink and the cocktail (alcoholic version) doesn’t get watered down as the ice cubes melt.

So if watermelons are plentiful where you are, I would highly recommend buying one to juice. Once you’ve extracted the juice, the remaining pulp can be used in a sorbet or hot topping for ice cream, and the rind can be made into Watermelon Rind Candies. And the juice?  If you are like me, you’ll be having watermelon juice for breakfast, a watermelon cooler for a midafternoon break, then a watermelon cocktail after 5 p.m.  No juice leftover to freeze in this house.


A watermelon cocktail made with mint, lime and vodka



Watermelon Cooler Recipe

Yield:  One-half of a medium size watermelon yields about 6 cups (~1 ½ liters) of juice.
Prep Time:  30 – 45 minutes to extract the juice, 5 minutes to make the coolers.

The juice does keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. You can always freeze what you don’t use.


1 medium to large seedless watermelon
1.5 ounces (1 jigger) vodka (optional)
Several fresh mint leaves
Lime wedges (1/2 lime cut into 4 pieces)


Juicing the watermelon 

I used an immersion blender, but you could use a regular blender or do it the old fashion way and use a colander.

  1. Cut the watermelon in half, then in wedges.how to juice watermelon
  2. Using a large spoon, scoop out the flesh of the melon, break into pieces, and transfer the pieces to a tall vertical container. (Remove any black seeds that may be in the melon.)
  3. When the container is about 3/4 full, juice the flesh using an immersion blender.
  4. Filter the juice by pouring it through a strainer into a large bowl.  Use a spatula to move the pulp around so as much of the juice as possible can strain through.
  5. Use the juice for coolers, cocktails, just juice, and watermelon ice cubes.  Refrigerate or freeze the extracted pulp for another use.

Straining watermelon juice

To Make a Watermelon Cooler / Cocktail

  1. Place a sprig of mint in the bottom of an 8 ounce glass. Top with a few ice cubes.
  2. Move the cubes around the glass, bruising the mint.
  3. Add more ice cubes until the glass is half full. Watermelon ice cubes work great.
  4. Add the vodka (optional).
  5. Fill the glass with watermelon juice. (See Kitchen Notes)
  6. Squeeze a wedge of lime into the juice and stir.
  7. Garnish with another sprig of mint.

If you have a cocktail shaker, just put all of the ingredients in a shaker and give it a shake.

Watermelon ice cubes

Pour some of the juice into an ice tray and freeze.



A refreshing drink made with watermelon juice, lime juice and mint


Kitchen Notes

Variations – These coolers are very intensely watermelon.  Here are other ways to use the juice:

  • If you want to stretch out the juice or lighten up the drink a bit, then use half juice and half sparkling water, but don’t forget the lime!
  • For more of a watermelon flavored cooler, just pour some sparkling water over the watermelon ice cubes.
  • You could also make a watermelon slushy and blend the watermelon and some lime juice with ice. For a slushy, you wouldn’t have to juice. Just use the flesh OR use the pulp that’s leftover from juicing.

The lime – In some cases, lemon can be substituted for lime; however, this is not one of those cases.  The first time I made this, I used preserved lemons. Bobby nor I liked the saltiness of the drink which is interesting since we both like to salt watermelon when we eat it.  The next time, I just used mint and lemon juice. Still wasn’t t0o crazy about it, so I switched to lime and we both loved it. Therefore, I would highly recommend sticking with lime.

The vodka – For a watermelon cocktail, vodka works quite well.  If you’ve ever spiked a whole watermelon by cutting a small hole in the rind, and inserting a bottle of vodka upside down, then you already know this. 🙂  I’m not sure if another alcohol like gin, tequila, or rum would work because I don’t have any, but you could always give one of those a try.  If you do, please let me know how it works.

A sweetener – If the watermelon you pick is ripe, the juice should be plenty sweet; therefore, no sweetener is needed.  However, if the watermelon is not quite ripe, then you might choose to add a little of your preferred sweetener.

Watermelon ice cubes – I really like using the watermelon ice cubes. especially in the cocktail. The cubes keep the cocktail from becoming watered down as you sip it.  For the cooler (the non-alcoholic version), it really doesn’t matter.  The coolers go down so quickly that the ice doesn’t have a chance to melt.

These watermelon coolers were linked to the following:  Heath & Soul,  Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Food on Friday  .






Featured in a Yummly feature:  Refreshing Watermelon Recipes for Summer


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72 Responses to “Watermelon Coolers”

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  2. Olga July 29, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    I will definitely try to make it! Looks great!

  3. Jennie @themessybakerblog July 15, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Wow, what beautiful coolers! I bet these are extremely refreshing in this hot, humid weather. Yum!

    • mj July 15, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Thanks Jennie! It was definitely the hot, dry weather here that inspired me to make these. 🙂

  4. Zsuzsa July 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Peach Lady thanks for this timely post. Now I know what to do with the not so sweet watermelon in my fridge. 🙂

    • mj July 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      This is definitely the way to go with a not so sweet watermelon! Also works for mushy, overripe ones. Hope you’re doing well!

  5. Clinton Y. Ortiz July 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    After a stay in the freezer, cubes of watermelon become “ice” for this margarita, which gets an herbal edge from basil-infused tequila.

    • mj July 8, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Sounds good! Thanks!

  6. Judy @Savoring Today July 2, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    These sounds wonderful, MJ. Sometimes it isn’t the flavor but the texture of a watermelon that can be off putting, so it goes in the compost. Love the idea of juicing it for drinks. 🙂

    • mj July 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      Thanks Judy! Oh – sounds like you’ve been getting some overripe melons. They are definitely mushy which yes – can be quite off putting. Those are the melons that are perfect for juicing.

  7. Swathi July 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Delicious and colorful watermelon cooler’s nobody can resist, Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  8. Nancy/SpicieFoodie June 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    I love watermelon in the summer. We grew up drinking the juice or as is called in Mexico, ague de sandia. Your alcoholic version sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing the juicing and freezing tip, never occurred to me. Thanks for being a part of the YBR this month:)

    • mj July 1, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

      Thanks Nancy! One of the first Spanish words that I learned when I moved to NM was “sandia”. The Sandia Mountains form the east boundary of my fair city and in the winter they turn watermelon red or “Sandia red” at sunset. Thanks for reminding me that watermelon juice is actually “aque de sandia”!

  9. Nami | Just One Cookbook June 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    I love your watermelon story too, MJ! You must be an expert in picking great watermelons as you love them very much. I need to brush up my skills. 🙂 Love your watermelon cooler. When I posted the watermelon juice, some readers suggested putting alcohol which I had never thought of! =P (you can tell I’m not much of a drinker to begin with). I would love to drink fruit and alcohol together than strong alcohol taste. 😉 Thanks for this recipe. I’ll give this version a try this summer!

    • mj June 29, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

      Thanks Nami! We do have very similar stories. I was smiling the whole time I was reading it. I do have to admit that I am pretty good about picking out a watermelon. Just listen for the low frequency thump. 🙂

  10. April @ The 21st Century Housewife June 29, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    I made watermelon margaritas once and watermelon cocktails are wonderful! I love your Watermelon Coolers, and this is a great tutorial on how to juice the watermelon as well. Thank you for sharing this refreshing summer drink with the Hearth and Soul Hop, MJ 🙂

    • mj June 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks April! Watermelon margaritas sound awesome! Definitely will have to try that one next. Thank you for hosting Hearth & Soul each week. 🙂

  11. sara June 28, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    YUM. This looks amazing and I love the idea of watermelon ice cubes!!

  12. Reese June 28, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    You’ve got me really excited over watermelon, MJ! Fresh watermelon juice, nutmeg juice, & pineapple juice are the elixirs that keep us alive throughout the year in my tropical country. I miss them so much but cannot find the excuses to enjoy them until summer hits Minnesota. Now it’s the time! We have two types of watermelon growing in the garden right now. Can’t wait! Love your watermelon ice cubes idea.

    • mj June 28, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks so much Reese! I didn’t realize that watermelon was popular in Asian countries until I posted this. I read a post over at Nami’s yesterday and her experience was similar to mine as well. Nutmeg juice? Now that sounds quite interesting. Have never heard of it! Have a wonderful weekend!

  13. Bill June 28, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    So you know that this Mississippi boy loves watermelon. And I know you’re a southern girl because you like salt on watermelon! It’s the only way we ate it when i was growing up. This post takes me back to those summer days on my grandmother’s porch with newsprint spread out and watermelon seeds everywhere. Thank God for seedless watermelons these days! Watermelon, vodka, and lime. What’s not to love about that??

    • mj June 28, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Thanks Bill! Yep – us Grits love our salted watermelon! 🙂 I’ve noticed that watermelon brings back a lot of memories for people. And I’m with you -I don’t miss the seeds!

  14. Adri June 24, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Well, that just looks spectacular! And it’s perfect for a hot afternoon. Thanks!

  15. Terra June 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Oh YUM! I love this refreshing and delicious cocktail:-) I have mint growing, and Grey Goose waiting to be enjoyed! I am soaking pineapple in vodka, tequila, and rum. I read that watermelon is a great fruit to soak in alcohol too, now I NEED to try it! Your cocktail really is beautiful, Hugs, Terra

  16. Viviane Bauquet Farre- Food & Style June 23, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    Gorgeous, MJ!

  17. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) June 23, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    No such thing as optional vodka for me. But then again I’m a glutton. 😉 Seriously though sounds very refreshing and ideal right about now as the heat is rising here in DC.

    …thanks for the visit to my site and I’ll be sure to place you in my reader. Cheers!

    • mj June 24, 2013 at 8:10 am #

      I’m with you on the vodka thing Jed! 🙂 I hope you get a chance to try them. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Purabi Naha | Cosmopolitan Currymania June 23, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    Love the colour! This watermelon cooler will definitely bring some relief from heat. Wonderful recipe!

  19. Raymund June 23, 2013 at 2:37 am #

    This would really go well during summer, well I still have to wait for 5 more months 🙂

  20. Asmita June 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Wow MJ,
    This recipe is a keeper for me. I love the addition of vodka. So refreshing!

  21. Jen @JuanitasCocina June 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    I love the combo of watermelon and mint! So refreshing!

  22. Giulietta | Alterkitchen June 22, 2013 at 3:04 am #

    Nice cooler 🙂

  23. Carole June 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    I have never juiced a watermelon but that drink looks so good! Next time they are cheap I will have to give it a go. Cheers

  24. Rachel Cooks June 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    Love the color of these! So gorgeous.

  25. Sissi June 21, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    MJ, this is without any doubts the most beautiful of all your posts! And I don’t say this because I love watermelon! Your photos are breathtaking. I mean it.
    Did you know that watermelon is looked down on by many French people? I don’t live in France, but my French family cannot understand how I can prefer it from orange melon… the French favourite.
    This cocktail not only looks gorgeous, but it sounds so luscious! I must test it very soon.
    In the meantime I bought some rhubarb and will be making a rhubarb drink tonight. Probably the last chance this year. Luckily new exciting fruits and vegetables arrive soon.

    • mj June 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

      You are SO SWEET Sissi! Thanks for the comment about the pictures! The color of the juice and remembering that I needed fresh watermelon for the picture made it easy. It was fun! I did NOT know that French people looked down on it! That’s quite interesting. But that’s o.k. – just leaves more for the rest of us. 🙂 A rhubarb drink! Sounds yummy! Hope you post it. Have a fabulous weekend my friend!

  26. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen June 21, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    This is a first for me, I’ve never seen watermelon juiced and used as a beverage for summer.. and with vodka, I can see these being a big hit! I love your idea of using the juice for ice cubes as well.. you’ve got so many uses for watermelon I’ve never considered before!! Love it! xx

    • mj June 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks Barbara! Watermelon was a HUGE part of my life growing up, so I learned a lot about it’s benefits and possibilities. I’ve got a couple more ideas I need to try. 🙂

  27. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles June 21, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Your watermelon coolers look gorgeous MJ. I have never juiced a watermelon so I find this post both inspiring and helpful. I do know watermelons are primarily water but I’m glad you confirmed that one will usually do the trick in terms of creating lots of juice. We haven’t really hit our stride in terms of warm weather here (any time now ;-)), but I hear you, this beautiful drink would be so refreshing and do a great job of cooling the ambient temperatures. Lovely. Very nice photos MJ!

    • mj June 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Yes, they are mostly water and GOOD water at that! 🙂 If the juice sets overnight it will separate and you’ll see that it’s water and very fine pulp particles. But once it’s stirred again, it makes a fabulous drink! Have a great weekend!

  28. It sounds super refreshing and I can see you carrying this big watermelon 🙂

    • mj June 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Thanks Marta! I let the husband get it out of the car for me. 🙂

  29. Nads June 21, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    I’m surprised you don’t remember juicing out watermelons for the freezer when we were kids. Besides peas and corn, when we would come home from the country in the summer we would usually have a trunk load of watermelon. I remember lining them up against the wall in the kitchen and attacking them one-by-one. Sometimes the last one or two would be over-ripe by the time we got to eating them. Besides the not so flavorful ones, juicing is a good use for over-ripe melons. Daddy LOVED watermelon juice! On his deathbed he asked for watermelon juice. Since it was October, there weren’t many around, but I found one in Minden. Watermelon juice is really good for upset stomachs. I gave it to my kids for tummy aches when they were little. Watermelon juice and hot and sour soup would cure almost anything. I have had watermelon juice with Vodka before but always felt it needed a little punch, so this year I’ll add the lime juice and mint. Watermelon coolers and Salty Dogs – bring it on Summer time. I’m ready.

    • mj June 21, 2013 at 7:34 am #

      Good morning Sis! Oh I do remember y’all juicing watermelon and how Mama and Dad both loved it, but I don’t remember it to the extent that you are describing. I guess I was out on the street curb with Larry selling watermelon for 25 cents a piece. 🙂 Aunt F was having some problems while I was there and the watermelon certainly seemed to have helped her out. I’ve used it for stomach aches as well. The lime and mint do add that punch your looking for so I hope you enjoy it. Bobby loves these cocktails and he’s usually not a fan of sweet alcoholic drinks, but since these aren’t too sweet and have the lime, he loves them. We finished off the juice last night, so I’ve been asked to get another watermelon before the weekend. 🙂 Thanks for your wonderful comment as always!

  30. ChgoJohn June 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Vodka optional? Maybe at your house, MJ. 🙂
    This sounds fantastic, I only wish I had seen it a few days ago. My neighbors gave me a half-watermelon to thank me for a favor. I ate it though it wasn’t the sweetest and a bit of a disappointment. Now even more so when I think I could be sipping one of your coolers right now. Not to worry. I will soon enough. Thanks for a great cocktail, MJ. Salute!

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Thanks John! It is so disappointing to get bad tasting fruits and vegetables. You don’t know what to do them, so you eat them anyway. Well, now you have a solution for dull tasting watermelon. 🙂 Cheers!

  31. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies June 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    So refreshing and perfect for summertime! I wish I had one right now. 🙂

  32. Choc Chip Uru June 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    This looks like the most refreshing drink in the existence of all drinks 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks Uru! That’s sweet!

  33. Kadri June 20, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    I would loooove this drink. Pity that here in central Europe watermelons are not so usual. But I think I have to try your drink. Love vodka and love watermelon. This would be perfect drink for me :).

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks Kadri! Sorry to hear that you don’t get watermelon where you are. I would have to have them shipping in. 🙂 Hope you can find one.

  34. Debra June 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Love this. Lime and watermelon go so good together. Love the ice cube trick.

  35. Angie@Angie's Recipes June 20, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    So refreshing and beautiful!

  36. beyondthepeel June 20, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    Wow, that looks amazing. So refreshing, colorful and vibrant. Gorgeous photos too.

  37. john@kitchenriffs June 20, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I’ve never juiced a watermelon! And I’ve had some that totally lacked flavor – now I’ll know what to do. 😉 This sounds like a lot of fun – I have to try this at some point. Plus I get to make a new cocktail! The vodka sounds good; some dark rum might be nice, too. Off topic, but the seedless watermelons we’ve been getting this year are all so small! I don’t know if it’s because it’s still relatively early in the season, but some of them look more like honeydews than watermelons, in terms of size at least. Anyway, good stuff – thanks so much.

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

      You read my mind John! When I posted this I was hoping that you would come up with another version. I do happen to have some dark rum that I’ll try, but hopefully we’ll see what you come up with someday soon. 🙂 Last year we had the problem with the tiny watermelons, but this year I’ve been able to find medium to even large watermelon at Whole Foods and Costco. If you have one of those nearby, you might check them out. Have a great weekend!

  38. Nisa Homey June 20, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    Oh Mj, I am in love with your cooler…it looks so beautiful…you have captured it so perfectly….unfortunately watermelon season just got over…so bookmarking this to try out…

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      Thanks so much Nisa! Sorry that watermelon season is over whee you are. Next year. 🙂

  39. wok with ray June 20, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Those glasses of watermelon coolers are so pretty. The ice cube itself is I think really a great idea and I would do the same thing. Thank you for this refreshing drink recipe especially for this coming hot summer weeks. I hope you and Bobby are enjoying the week. 🙂

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      Thanks Ray! It was hot again today here, but we still sat on the front porch and drank a couple of watermelon coolers. 🙂 What a great drink to beat the heat and yes, they are pretty. 🙂 Have a marvelous Friday and weekend!

  40. Jeanne (NanaBread) June 20, 2013 at 7:44 am #

    Beautiful, MJ! I love that rich red color of a good watermelon. We grew up in NW Arkansas, and always had watermelons throughout the summer. In fact, it’s just not summer for us without a few ice cold watermelons. I want to buy one just to juice it now!

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

      Thanks Nana! I’ve been quite lucky this year to find such good watermelon this early. Usually it’s August before they get good. Hope you find some good watermelons this season.

  41. Treat and Trick June 20, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    The color of your drink was inviting! First time I came across such a drink made with vodka. Thanks for sharing MJ….

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      Thanks! It is a pretty color isn’t it. I was lucky to find a good watermelon. 🙂

  42. Vicki Bensinger June 20, 2013 at 6:27 am #

    Your watermelon cooler is beautiful. I love watermelon but have to say it just isn’t at it’s peak yet. I had so e last night with dinner and it was marginal at best.

    I love all your ideas and uses for this delicious fruit and now can’t wait to try them all. I think I might like it best with sparkling water with lime since I’m not much of a vodka fan. Looking forward to trying these.

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thanks Vicki! They are just coming in here to the big stores, but no local ones yet. That’s o.k. I want my watermelon whenever I can get it. 🙂 These are delicious without the vodka so no worries there.

  43. Helene D'souza June 20, 2013 at 6:21 am #

    Oh wow your watermelon juice looks so rich! Our watermelons here that they sell commercially don’t have much taste, so usually I don’t make juice that often and because of that I don’t order watermelon juice in the restaurants or shaks. Only if we get those watermelons from the southern ladies, then we make a whole lots of juice! My husband likes it with some salt. ^.^ So you have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time, in between time…? nice one MJ! =D

    • mj June 20, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

      Thanks Helene! Sorry that you can’t get good watermelon except from the southern ladies. The best watermelons in the states usually comes from the south as well. 🙂 You can have been raised in the south and not like watermelon!

  44. Ramona June 20, 2013 at 6:17 am #

    Love the addition of vodka… now that’s a way to sit and sip away the long hot summer. 🙂


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