Start to Finish: 12 hours
Prep Time: 1 to 2 hours
Servings: 10 to 20
Watermelon and vodka were made for each other. The luscious red fruit soaks up the alcohol without getting mushy — which most people can’t even do — and lends itself to a variety of preparations, from salad to cocktails. Even very simple vodka-laced melon slices add a kick to your party.
- 1 large seedless watermelon
- 1 liter good quality vodka
The College Dorm Way
Set the melon on its side on a counter. Find its center of gravity when it stops rolling around. With a sharp carving knife,take a thin slice from the bottom part of the melon — taking care not to pierce the skin — creating a flat surface for stable balance.
Remove the cap from the vodka bottle. If there is a plastic insert in the neck, leave it there. Place the cap in the top center of the watermelon and trace a line around it with a nontoxic felt pen.
Using a very sharp and narrow paring or boning knife, followed the traced line and cut a plug from the melon. Remove the plug and set it aside.
Place an absorbent towel — this is bound to get messy — around the base of the watermelon. Tilt the melon to the side and upend the vodka bottle into the hole you have created. Let the vodka do its work. Stay close by in case it starts to overflow.
If the vodka overflows, remove the bottle and allow the melon to set for 10 to 15 minutes or until all the vodka has been absorbed. Reinsert the bottle and begin again.
For more even distribution of the vodka, cut several plugs along the top of the melon and move the bottle from one hole to another.
Replace the plugs and refrigerate the watermelon overnight.
Use funnels to infuse your watermelon for less of a mess. Cut or poke through the melon skin in two places along the top. Force a funnel deep into each hole; fill the funnels halfway vodka, and place the watermelon securely on a refrigerator shelf. Check periodically for absorption. Continue replenishing the funnels until all the vodka is gone. Again, refrigerate the watermelon overnight or at least for several hours.
Give It a Shot
Perhaps the most civilized and least messy way to infuse a watermelon with vodka is to use a culinary injector. This clever tool comes with a canister and an injection lever. Just fill the can with vodka and poke away merrily at your unsuspecting fruit. Consumer-grade flavor injectors resemble nothing so much as a horror movie hypodermic needle, but they’ll do the job and are affordable. Consider using the injector method for small individual watermelons with thinner skins that may not take well to the plug method.
Cut the watermelon in half, and remove the juicy flesh with a melon baller or cut it out in chunks. Using a sharp knife, create a sawtooth pattern on the rim of each watermelon half. Place the balls or chunks back into the hollowed melon, and then cover them with vodka and add a few springs of mint. Refrigerate for several hours before serving in a compote as dessert or as a garnish in martinis. Or, just stick a spoon in the melon bowl and let guests serve themselves vodka-infused fruit salad.
Slices are the easiest serving method. Leave the rind on and arrange 1/2-inch-thick slices on a platter.
Fill trays with cubes or melon balls and let guests serve themselves.
Frost wedges of rindless melon with whipped cream and stud with berries for a watermelon “cake.”
Mix small melon spears with mint, raspberries and a squeeze of lemon for a watermelon salad.
Blend your drunken watermelon, and serve it over crushed ice.
Tips and Warnings
Thoroughly wash the watermelon before use.
Only adults should be allowed to consume the watermelon
Remind guests that although it may not taste like it, they are consuming the amount of alcohol in each slice that they would in a cocktail.
References and ResourcesNew York Times: Basil Vodka to Peach Sake: Infusing Spirits With Daring
Epicurious: Vodka Watermelon
ISI International: Injector tips
Williams-Sonoma: Flavor Injector