spiced watermelon cooler

Ah May, summertime is really approaching now! Where I grew up, Bakersfield (I’ve heard almost all the jokes, thank you very much), it gets mighty hot ’round about this time of year. Triple digits? A common occurrence. You can go outside if you really want to, but we locals wouldn’t recommended it. Hot temps call for cool, refreshing drinks. And cool refreshing drinks call for watermelon. Let’s all share in a Spiced Watermelon Cooler to ease the burden of heat!

rim glass with salt and chili

What we have working here is a double dose of cooling action. When it’s warm, you need any relief you can get — and maximizing that relief is to your benefit.

Our first cooling action is the watermelon itself. It’s refreshing, thirst quenching (it has water built into the name!) and tasty, ensuring you have plenty.

The second tool in our arsenal of cooling action is spice.

ancho reyes chile liqueur

Some of you out there might be thinking, “Um, yeah, so see, the thing is I’m trying to cool off, not heat up. Spice is what I want to avoid.” Or is it? (My English professors always said never ask a rhetorical question that someone could answer opposite of what you want, but to that I say good day sir, good day!) It is. Go to the hottest, muggiest parts of the world and you’ll find the spice level in food goes up. Spicier food means you sweat more means you’re cooling off more.

That’s how we do that.

So, now we have watermelon and spice, but what kind of spice? Well, luckily my Latino amigos clued me in to the amazingness that is watermelon with chili and salt. This magical combination inspired the Spiced Watermelon Cooler.

watermelon juicepour cocktail

However, you don’t just want to dump cayenne pepper into your cocktail, that just won’t do. What you need is a fantastic booze that already did the hard work for you. It’s at this part in our story that Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur joins the party. It’s sweet, spicy, lightly herbaceous and (if you’re a chili head like me) fantastic on the rocks. Oh yes, Ancho Reyes is going into our cocktail.

Once the scene was set at watermelon and spice, it was just a matter of getting the proportions together.

Now when it’s warm out, or you want to remember the warm times, or want to celebrate something a little South of the Border but don’t want a Margarita or a Tres Leches Martini, then you have a winner.

For you my friend, onto the Spiced Watermelon Cooler!

garnish with watermelonspiced watermelon cooler

Spiced Watermelon Cooler
Prep time
5 mins
Mix time
2 mins
Total time
7 mins
Recipe type: Drinks
Servings: 1
  • 3 oz. watermelon juice
  • 2 oz. chile liqueur
  • 1 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. honey water (50/50 honey and water)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt (looks better, looks are important)
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. chili spice
  • Wedge of watermelon
  • Glass type: mason jar (damn right)
  1. Juice your watermelon (we used a food processor).
  2. Strain.
  3. Mix your salt and spices together.
  4. Rub the lip of your mason jar with a quarter of lime.
  5. Dip into your spiced salt.
  6. Set aside and prepare for amazing.
  7. Add all of your liquid ingredients to you cocktail shaker with ice.
  8. Shake.
  9. When you’re tired of shaking, stop.
  10. Fill your prepared mason jar with ice.
  11. Strain your now properly shaken cocktail into your mason jar.
  12. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon.
  13. Enjoy the cooling refreshment.