Each summer, when watermelons start arriving in grocery store bins, I recall two things from my youth. First, one of my mother's favorite summertime treats was to sprinkle salt and pepper on freshly cut watermelon. On a hot July day, the combination of salty, peppered sweetness is extremely gratifying. The other memory is of college parties, where someone shows up with a whole watermelon that they'd cleverly soaked with vodka, and everybody cuts into it, seemingly intoxicated with just one slice. Those two memories are the inspiration for this refreshing summer punch.


Salt & Pepper Watermelon Punch

  • 1/2 quart citrus vodka
  • 1/2 quart Absolut Peppar
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • Seedless watermelon, cut into cubes
  • Ice

In a glass baking dish, gently sprinkle the watermelon cubes with about 1 tablespoon of salt. Pour citrus vodka over the watermelon, enough to cover all of the pieces. If the watermelon is not fully covered, add more vodka or water to the dish. Think ahead about the amount of vodka going into the bowl, though, because you'll be using it again later. Let the cubes marinate in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Just before your party, stir together 2 1/2 quarts of cold water with 1 1/2 cups of sugar in a punch bowl or large drink dispenser. Add 1/2 quart of Absolut Peppar vodka. Strain the vodka mixture off of your watermelon chunks, and stir this liquid into your punch bowl. Separate the frozen watermelon cubes into individual glasses, along with a few cubes of ice. As you pour individual glasses of your new summer punch, the frozen watermelon will help keep the drinks cool. If you have a guest who's a fan of super-salty cocktails, you can add more salt to taste. When the punch is gone, bite into a vodka-soaked chuck of fruit for an extra special treat.