Summer is here and the only beverages I want to sip on are those that are brain-freeze-inducing-ice-cold. Though I love the taste of piña coladas and frozen margaritas, I lack the tolerance to drink them. So when melon season rolls around and I get thirsty, I make my signature summer drink: this two-ingredient watermelon slush
Inspired by a beverage I grew up drinking in Hong Kong called 西瓜冰—which translates to “watermelon ice”—this refreshing cooler consists of nothing more than a very ripe watermelon and ice. In Hong Kong, a sub-tropical island of skyscrapers in the South China Sea, a hot summer day with a humidity over 90% is the norm. Weather like this calls for a lot more than just ice cream—dessert parlors serve cold tofu pudding, shaved ice, and tall, life-saving glasses of watermelon slush.
Sitting elbow to elbow on our tiny stools, my friends and I would wipe the sweat beading on our foreheads and slowly savor the cool bite of the chilled sweets. Summertime still isn’t complete without my weekly watermelon slush, and because there are no Chinese dessert parlors near me, I re-create this beloved beverage for myself every summer in my own kitchen.
The method is simple. So simple, in fact, that you definitely don’t need a recipe—just a ratio of four parts watermelon to one part ice. (I’ve done it with both weight and volume and both work just fine—you don’t have to be too precise here.) Here’s how to slush your way into summer mode.
First, prep your watermelon
There’s no right or wrong way to cut a watermelon, but I find it easiest to halve the melon and place it flat side down on a cutting board. I then use my knife to slice off the rind (like you would if you were supreming citrus) before slicing the melon into planks and cubing it. Remove any large seeds. For the most flavorful drink, be sure to use a very ripe watermelon—a ripe melon should feel heavy, smell sweet, and sound hollow when tapped.
Into the blender it goes
To make one serving, I use a cup of watermelon cubes and ¼ cup of ice. Measuring is fine and dandy, but this really is a zero-fuss beverage that you can eyeball and adjust to your liking. Blitz the watermelon and ice until smooth. You can also make watermelon ice cubes by blending watermelon, pouring it into an ice cube tray, and blitzing the resulting ice cubes with fresh watermelon the next time you make this beverage for a more intense watermelon flavor.
Season to taste
I prefer to pour the magenta slush straight into a tall glass, but if you’d like it a little sweeter, you can add a little syrup (simple, maple, or whatever you have on hand). You can also brighten your drink with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt. And if you want to turn it into a cocktail, go ahead—add a splash of tequila along with that lime juice and salt.