Watermelon is a near-perfect summer treat. Not only is the fruit’s ruby flesh refreshing and rehydrating, it’s full of vitamins A, B6, and C. So, how to improve upon the seasonal delight? Add alcohol, of course. My two favorite watermelon cocktail recipes take different approaches: Wazee Supper Club shakes melon purée with silver tequila, while The Kitchen Next Door combines the fruit with gin. Find these summery drinks at the respective restaurants, or make them at home (recipes follow). Either way, you’ll want to add them to your summer beverage repertoire.

Watermelon Rita from Wazee Supper Club

(1 cocktail)

1½ ounces silver tequila

½ ounce triple sec

4 ounces of watermelon purée

splash sweet and sour

Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice and shake. Strain into a sugar-rimmed glass with ice. Garnish with an orange slice.

The Kitchen Next Door Watermelon Cocktail

(4 cups)

1 1½-pound watermelon

½ jalapeño

½ cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup simple syrup

water (if necessary)

4 ounces gin

Remove rind from the watermelon. Remove seeds and ribs from jalapeño. Cut both into pieces and purée in a blender. Strain through a China cap or fine-mesh strainer. Strain again through a fine chinois (or a cheesecloth lined strainer) to remove any excess pulp. Strain lemon juice and add to watermelon-jalapeno mixture. Slowly add cooled simple syrup, tasting as you go, so the mixture doesn’t become too sweet.

To Serve:

Chill mixture, stir in 4 ounces of gin, and serve over ice. Garnish each glass with sliced jalapeños, a lemon twist, or a wedge of watermelon. (For a stronger mix, add 6 ounces of gin.)

Bonus: For more ideas, check out my Cocktail board on Pinterest.

Wazee Supper Club, 1600 15th St., 303-623-9518

The Kitchen Next Door, 658 S. Colorado Blvd., 303-757-0878

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Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.