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Watermelon Sour – the Meloncholy

5 from 2 votes

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whiskey sour with watermelon and mint garnish
Watermelon Sour – Meloncholy

What better way to take your mind off the heat than a cold drink that tastes like fresh watermelon: the Watermelon Sour. While summer continues to heat up, I’ve got watermelon on the brain, and a simple syrup of fresh watermelon imparts a bright, fresh taste to this sour.

While it might be more watermelon-forward if I used a watermelon flavored vodka, I prefer to keep my spirits unflavored if possible. However, if you’ve got a little watermelon vodka on hand, I’ll give you a couple of options to make it in the notes.

Watermelon simple syrup shouldn’t be cooked. If you see a recipe for watermelon simple for cocktails that calls for heating it up on a stove, run away. For this recipe I cut up 1 lb of watermelon into small cubes, and added 8 ounces of sugar. I put the contents in a quart ziploc back and left it in the fridge for 24 hours. Once I strained out the watermelon chunks I was left with a wonderful, vibrant watermelon simple syrup to use for cocktails and other food experiments.

Since I’m a whiskey girl, I kept the first version close to my usual 2:1:1 ratio for sours – 2 ounces spirit to 1 ounce sour and 1 ounce sweet and used Woodford Reserve bourbon. However, with the egg white or aquafaba, some of the sourness gets toned down a little too much, so I cut back on the egg white/aquafaba in the second iteration.

Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice graciously sent me a box of their cocktail kit juices to play with for some mixology experiments. I’m loving not having to juice things to put together the cocktails. Their flavors are vibrant and they’re preservative-free. They are as close to fresh-pressed juices as I’ve tasted with store-bought lemon juice. Good news is they’re available at most large grocery stores like Whole Foods and Publix. While we’re at it, I miss having Publix nearby. That’s one part of Nashville I do miss!

whiskey sour with watermelon and mint garnish
Watermelon Sour – Meloncholy

Back to the watermelon sour, though. If you’d like, swap out to just vodka as the base spirit! The color will be a much more vibrant pink and it’ll allow the peppercorn tincture and Rizzo bitters a lot more exposure on the palate without the whiskey to mask them.

However, for me, whiskey’s base in the cocktail keeps things a little complex.

Be sure to taste test the cocktail before you pour and garnish. Watermelon simple can vary widely in its watermelon-ness so adjust as need. (As always)

whiskey sour with watermelon and mint garnish
Watermelon Sour – Meloncholy

If you’re looking for a few more fun sours, take a look at my smash or sour category for more options!

whiskey sour with watermelon and mint garnish

Watermelon Sour – the Meloncholy Sour

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
Swing into summer with this subtly watermelon sour. You can increase the watermelon flavors by using melon liqueur or vodka. But leave it mysterious by sticking to watermelon simple syrup.
5 from 2 votes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1


  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz watermelon simple**
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • ½ oz egg white or ½ oz aquafaba
  • 6 drops Crude Rizzo bitters
  • 1 barspoon peppercorn tincture
  • 5 mint leaves
  • Garnish: fresh watermelon and mint leaves


  • Combine ingredients to a cocktail shaker and add ice. Shake until very cold, then shake another 30 seconds. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with fresh watermelon and mint leaves.


If you have watermelon vodka, the base spirit should be split in half between whiskey or vodka and the watermelon vodka.
**See link above for watermelon simple syrup
Keyword bourbon, lemon, vodka, watermelon, Whiskey Sour
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

By on June 20th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location.

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3 thoughts on “Watermelon Sour – the Meloncholy”

  1. 5 stars
    I am generally lazy about making any kind of syrup. Earlier this week I had endless leftover watermelon, so I gave the syrup a shot. I subbed the bitters and omitted the peppercorn tincture. Needless to say, it was outstanding!

    • That watermelon syrup is so good. I’m so glad you enjoyed the cocktail! I have to say I’m dreading the end of watermelon season. It’s such an easy way to use leftover watermelon and it goes so well with most spirits. Cheers!

  2. 5 stars
    I actually had all the exact ingredients for this recipe on hand. Garnished with more bitters, because I used all the watermelon for the syrup. I used Weller 12 and the drink was fantastic! Thank you for the recipe.

5 from 2 votes

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