Hello, Summer! Watermelon Margaritas

Watermelon Margaritas from Collegiate Cook
Watermelon Margaritas from Collegiate Cook
Photo: Nathan Davison

Growing up in Florida, the concept of changing seasons was completely foreign to me. Having different wardrobes — and even wearing different fabrics and colors — during the winter months? Unheard of. Trekking around town in boots six months out of the year? Only if you worked in construction, pal. And shivering in May? You must be joking.

Then I moved to New York, and suddenly the year wasn’t split into “warm and breezy” and “pretty freaking hot.”

At first, I relished in it. Scarves, mittens, overcoats — it all seemed so fun. But when racks of bikinis started hitting store shelves in March and I was trudging through snow, I’ll be honest: the novelty wore off. Quickly.

While it isn’t quite bathing suit season in the city, I’m trying to usher in the season (and encourage a tropical escape, even if only in my mind) with some refreshing watermelon margaritas. They take just minutes to make, and the salted, chili powder rim provides a tangy kick that keeps the drink from being mouth-puckeringly sweet.

Plus, if you’re searching for a stress-free party or Cinco de Mayo menu, this cocktail provides a crisp contrast to my Avocado Chicken Tostadas. Just throwin’ it out there.

NOTE: If you’re under 21, skip the tequila and Triple Sec. I know I’m no fun, but guess what? The alcohol-free version is pretty darn good on its own. I promise.


Watermelon Margaritas

Nathan very slightly adapted this from Brian Boitano’s recipe for Food Network

Kitchen utensils needed: Cutting board, knife, blender, shallow bowl (for creating salt/chili powder rim)

Ingredients (serves 5-6):

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 limes: juice 1 and 1/2 for the margaritas, and save the other half to cut into wedges for garnish
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 5 ounces Triple Sec (set one ounce aside for creating the salted rim)
  • 8 ounces tequila
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Time Commitment: 15-20 minutes


  1. Puree the watermelon, sugar, ice and Triple Sec in a blender. (We had to add the Triple Sec just so our puny blender could properly mix everything.)
  2. Once it’s reached a smoothie-like consistency, pour it into a pitcher and stir in the lime juice and tequila.
  3. Mix the salt and chili powder on one shallow bowl. In the other, empty dish, pour the ounce of Triple Sec. Dip the rims of each glass in the Triple Sec, then dip them into the salt/chili powder mix. You may have to twist the cup a bit to get it thoroughly coated.
  4. Now for the obvious: Fill each glass with watermelon margarita and garnish with a lime wedge. Revel in how amazingly pulled together your friends think you are. Now go to the beach, or at least sit back, stare at a tropical screensaver, and pretend you’re there. (Because the latter is totally not lame, right? Right?)

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