4th of July Watermelon Mint Juleps

by Rebecca Matheson Ortiz, Tastemaker in Residence

Independence Day, for me, conjures up the image of flags blowing in the warm summer breeze, children dashing about, waving sparklers and shrieking with joy, a bold fireworks display over the lake, going off with thrilling “BOOMs” and bright colors. It brings to mind patriotism, a love of the good ol’ USA, and thankfulness for freedom and all those brave men and women who risk their lives for it.

The 4th of July is a powerful holiday that brings out not only happy memories, patriotism, and thankfulness; it also does something much simpler. It takes my taste buds on a journey back to sweet and tangy barbecue sauce slathered on a chopped beef sandwich, warm queso on crisp tortilla chips, some ice-cold suds, and, of course, a crisp and refreshing chomp into a ripe watermelon.

I’d like to add a new taste-memory to the 4th’s repertoire—an adult beverage that also captures a sense of summer and days of America’s past in the best way. One taste and you’re sure to be hooked on this simple, delicious drink that’s perfect to sip in celebration of country and freedom. This drink is the Watermelon Mint Julep!

Watermelon Mint Julep
1 large seedless watermelon, diced
1 cup bourbon
½ cup fresh mint leaves (save a few leaves for later)
3 Tbsp of sugar (or to taste)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or to taste)


  1. Add all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and let it soak for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator
  2. Use a potato masher to crush the watermelon chunks into a juicy pulp in the bowl, muddling the mint as you do so
  3. Once watermelon is crushed, strain the contents over your pitcher or punch bowl.Tip-Press on this with the potato masher as well, a lot of juice will still be in the watermelon pulp, and pressing it directly from the strainer will help you get it all
  4. Serve over ice