This Watermelon Mojito is one of the most refreshing and delicious cocktails out there! With fresh watermelon juice, mint, lime and rum, this drink is a real crowd pleaser. You can't go wrong on a hot summer day with one of these in your hand.
This mojito is a really seasonal drink, since watermelon is at its best in the summer months. Don't try to make this one with an unripe watermelon! For the best flavor, look for a watermelon with a dark green skin and a yellow-colored "field spot", which is the place the watermelon rested on the ground while growing.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to mix up this drink:
- Watermelon - try to look for a ripe and in-season watermelon, since unripe melons will not have nearly as much flavor.
- Mint leaves - fresh mint if possible!
- Lime juice - freshly squeezed is best.
- Light rum - I used Plantation 3 Stars white rum.
- Sugar - a traditional mojito uses cane sugar instead of simple syrup. I prefer to use a fine-grain sugar like caster sugar (also known as superfine) since it dissolves more easily, but if you're into the idea of undissolved sugar crystals at the bottom of the drink, go for a coarser sugar like Sugar in the Raw.
- Seltzer - I used Q Club Soda, which is one of my favorites because it is extra carbonated.
If you don't have some of the ingredients on hand, you can try these substitutions:
- Watermelon - there isn't really a substitute for watermelon, since it is the star of the show! But, if you can't find fresh watermelon, you can try buying juice. Look for cold-pressed bottled watermelon juice in the fridge section of your store (or this watermelon juice from Whole Foods). Pasteurized watermelon juice would work in a pinch, but the flavor doesn't taste quite as good since it's been heated.
- Lime juice - you can substitute in lemon if you don't have lime. It will be a tiny bit sweeter overall.
- Mint - if you really can't find fresh mint, you can try using a mint syrup in place of the mint and sugar. This Mojito Mint syrup by Torani is a good option (but fresh will definitely have a different taste).
- Light rum - you can substitute this with an aged rum if you prefer. Vodka or gin would also play well in this drink.
- Sugar - the watermelon juice has natural sugar, but if you want to make this drink with less carbs, just use your favorite granulated sugar substitute (allulose or erythritol both work well).
Want to change up this recipe? Here are some ideas:
- Coconut Watermelon Mojito - adding 1 ounce of coconut cream per drink creates a whole different feel! The creaminess of coconut adds some richness without being too heavy.
- Watermelon Mojito Slush - instead of making this directly in the serving glass, add everything to a blender. Pulse it together until you have a slushy texture, and then serve. Try not to over-blend, because the mint will become bitter.
- Non-alcoholic Watermelon Mojito - try substituting Lyre's White Cane non-alcoholic spirit for the white rum. Or, you can substitute in some chilled mint tea instead.
To make this drink, you'll need either a blender or food processor for the watermelon (or a juicer, of course!). You can try to mash it up by hand, but the machines make it super easy and more efficient. I used my Americana brand personal blender.
You'll also need a fine mesh strainer, and a container to hold the finished juice.
Once you have the juice ready, you'll need a cocktail serving glass (preferably a tumbler or large highball glass). Also grab a long bar spoon, plus a jigger or small measuring cup. You'll most likely want a knife, cutting board and citrus juicer for the lime.
How to Make Watermelon Juice
It's a breeze to make fresh watermelon juice for this cocktail. There is so much liquid in a watermelon! This makes for a ton of fresh juice for your drinks.
Start by cutting your watermelon into chunks. You'll need about double the volume of chunks to the amount of juice you want to make, so 2 cups of chunks will make about a cup of juice once it's strained.
Add the chunks to your blender, and blend it up until smooth. If you have trouble blending, just shake your container if you're using a personal blender, or use your blender tamper tool to push the watermelon down towards the blades.
Then strain the pureed watermelon through a fine mesh strainer, and store it in an airtight container like a Mason jar. You can use it right away, or it'll keep in the fridge for about 3 days.
How to make a Watermelon Mojito
Once you have your watermelon juice ready (instructions in the previous section, How to Make Watermelon Juice), get started making the drink by adding your fresh mint leaves to the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
Then, add in the granulated sugar, and stir them together lightly with a bar spoon. The stirring action will release the natural oils in the mint without crushing it or releasing any bitterness.
Add in the lime juice, and stir to start dissolving the sugar. Then, add in the watermelon juice.
Add the rum to the serving glass, and then fill the glass with ice. Give it a quick stir to combine everything.
Top off the drink with seltzer. Garnish the drink with a watermelon slice and a sprig of fresh mint before serving.
Hint: if you can get your hands on a stick of raw sugar cane, it makes the perfect cocktail swizzle stick, and it's sweet to chew on!
Frequently Asked Questions
A mojito is a traditional Cuban cocktail made with cane sugar, mint, lime, and rum. Mojitos are a great base to add fruit purees and juices for different flavor variations.
Yes, a mojito is a rum-based cocktail. However, if you want to make a non-alcoholic version, try using a non-alcoholic rum substitute like Lyre's brand, or switch in some chilled mint tea instead.
Top tip - Mojitos by the Pitcher
This is a great cocktail to make in bulk because everyone loves it! You'll want to start out by juicing your watermelon ahead of time. The juice will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Before the party, prep your watermelon garnishes by cutting small wedges. Then, mix the sugar and mint in a pitcher. After it has mixed and the mint has released some oils, add the lime juice, watermelon juice and rum.
Mix it all up, then cover and stick it in the fridge until you're ready. Wait until just before you want to serve to add in the seltzer. Or, you could fill all the glasses with ice, pour the mixture in each glass and then top each glass with seltzer.
Then, just add your garnish before wowing your guests with fresh mojitos!
Fresh Watermelon Juice
- 2 cups fresh watermelon chunks (makes about 1 cup of juice, enough for 4 cocktails)
- 10-12 mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ounce lime juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
- 2 ounces watermelon juice
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1-2 ounces seltzer
Fresh Watermelon Juice
- Add your watermelon chunks to a blender (or food processor or juicer) and blend until it becomes a smooth liquid puree.
- Set your fine mesh strainer above a storage container and pour the watermelon puree through the strainer. You can stir the puree inside the strainer to make it go through faster.
- The strained juice can be used immediately, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Add your fresh mint leaves to the bottom of your serving glass.
- Add the sugar to the mint and use your bar spoon to stir them together. Try not to crush the mint, just stir it around and gently press the mixture against the side of the glass a few times.
- Add the lime juice to the serving glass and stir it all together with your bar spoon.
- Add the watermelon juice and rum to the serving glass.
- Fill the glass with ice and give it a quick stir to incorporate everything together.
- Top the drink with seltzer.
- Add the watermelon wedge and a sprig of fresh mint as a garnish, and serve.