This watermelon lemonade is a refreshing drink made with puréed watermelon, lemon juice, and simple syrup. We can’t think of a better remedy for a hot summer afternoon.
This watermelon lemonade makes inspired use of the watermelons piling up at late-summer farm stands. Its tangy sweetness makes it irresistible to all ages, although if you’re looking to make it more grown up, we can help with that, too (see Variation beneath the recipe).–Angie Zoobkoff
☞ Table of Contents
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 watermelon chilled and cut into seedless chunks (about 9 cups)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 4 to 6 lemons)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Ice cubes
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the water and sugar to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.
- Cool the simple syrup to room temperature.
- Working in batches, process the watermelon in a blender until it becomes liquid. Strain it through a fine-mesh sieve. You should have 4 to 6 cups watermelon juice. Discard the solids.
- In a pitcher, stir together half the simple syrup, watermelon juice, lemon juice, and salt. Refrigerate until cold.
- Stir the watermelon lemonade to recombine. Taste and, if desired, add additional simple syrup. Pour into ice-filled glasses.
What You Need To Know About Making Hard Watermelon LemonadeTo give this lemonade a little adult flair, add a shot of chilled vodka to each glass before pouring in the lemonade.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe was great—quick, easy, and nearly perfect. Overall, it was delicious and refreshing. I used the full amount of simple syrup. The kids liked it just as-is. All the adults who tried it agreed it could be less sweet, probably half the amount of sugar syrup would do.
Perfect for a hot summer’s day! I think the addition of mint would be really nice!
This recipe is a simple way to capture watermelon at the peak of the season and can easily be adjusted to personal preference or to how sweet your individual watermelon might be.
The intensity of the fruit flavor comes through well so the lemonade doesn’t need to be overly sweetened. As written, with the full amount of simple syrup, it was too sweet for us, but that can be so easily remedied. I would add only half, taste, and adjust. You can also easily dilute with some sparkling water or add a bit more lemon (or some lime).
I used Purpleheart mini watermelon, a compact thin-skinned one that was the perfect size for this recipe. It’s nearly seedless and I used a wooden skewer to gently scrape out any seeds before putting it in the blender.
Once you get the knack of how easy it is to pull together a batch of this, you can put it to use whenever you want. What I like about the intense watermelon flavor is that this could be the basis for so many different drinks, and the pinch of salt works as well as it does on the fruit. I think this is better than the local agua fresca of my favorite tacquieria.
I have made this watermelon lemonade recipe twice now because we really liked it. The first time I followed the instructions exactly in order to properly judge the result. The second time, I omitted the sugar syrup because I really felt it was unnecessary but then I’m always looking to use less sugar.
I love the addition of the salt; it gives just that extra something needed. The only thing that I would add is that once the lemon juice is added, the pulp and the liquid separate, leaving you with a less spectacular result. It is easily reincorporated with a quick stir but cooks should be aware of this if planning to put the pitcher in front of guests, like on a buffet. Otherwise, this is a delicious and refreshing summer drink.
It’s so easy to make and the color is just so lovely. We also added vodka and soda to the last batch and enjoyed a very summery cocktail hour!
Originally published August 26, 2019