On a recent trip down to Punta Mita, Mexico, I was introduced to the watermelon margarita. Where has it been my entire adult drinking life? In comparison to its traditional cadillac margarita sister, the watermelon margarita is less acidic, more refreshing (aka you can drink many of them for better or worse), and the bright color is pretty lovely to boot.
While plain salt on the rim would be tasty, the variety they served down in Mexico often came accompanied by tamarind salt or red pepper salt. Why not throw it all together for a spicy salty sweet salty combo?
There is no better time to recreate this vacation favorite than Cinco de Mayo. I turned to the original cooking queen Martha Stewart to guide me. There are many slightly varying recipes out there, some of which add triple sec into the mix, or agave syrup in place of simple syrup. Just use fresh ingredients and any combination will surely be tasty.
Just pretend your favorite bartender is whipping these Watermelon Margaritas up beachside. ¡Vámonos!
Watermelon Margaritas + Tamarind Pepper Salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 wide strips orange zest
- 12 ounces watermelon cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 3/4 cup white or silver tequila
- ~2 cups ice
- Lime wedges
For glass rims:
- 2 tablespoons Salt (for rims)
- 1 teaspoon Tamarind paste
- 2 teaspoons White sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and orange zest to a boil over high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Let syrup cool in a bowl.
2. In a blender, puree watermelon cubes until smooth. Martha recommends straining through a fine-mesh sieve, but I say don't waste that delicious pulp!
3. Mix course salt, sugar, tamarind paste and red pepper flakes until combined. This part is more art that science. You'll need to adjust based on the consistency you get as a result of adding the tamarind in. I added a little salt and sugar (until I lost track) so that it was drier, and not a paste-y consistency.
4. Add syrup, lime juice, tequila and ice to the blender with the watermelon. Blend away until it's smooth.
5. Take a lime wedge and run it along the rims of your glasses, roll it in the tasty tamarind pepper salt.
6. Pour margarita mixture into salt rimmed glasses. Garnish with lime wedges.