Basil Watermelon Caipirinha

Basil Watermelon Caipirinha

When I wasn’t in the classroom during my college years, I was solving bigger problems; like how to smuggle alcohol into the dorms. It was in this place of higher learning that I discovered that watermelon soaks up vodka like a dry sponge. Back then, drinking was much more a means to an end, so proof was often important that palate, and yet somehow, vodka soaked watermelon managed to bring on the tipsy without sacrificing taste.

Hudson Fireworks

Fast forward a dozen years, and booze soaked watermelon is still one of my favorite endings to a summer picnic. It pacifies my sweet-tooth without weighing me down with a ton of butter and sugar. This Basil Watermelon Caipirina also has the added benefit of looking like a salad, for those of us that live in places with draconian open container laws.

While it isn’t a traditional Brazilian Caipirnha, all the flavours are there, and I love how the vegetal notes in the Cachaça compliment the green basil and cucumber-like flavor of the watermelon. The two lime juices add tartness, and a floral note that keeps the whole thing from tasting too sweet.

Watermelon and basil soaked in Cachaça

I brought this Basil Watermelon “Caipirinha” to a picnic we had on the Hudson for Independence Day along with some sausage made from acorn fed black pigs, Perlagrigia cheese with black truffles, garlic marinated roasted peppers, and a baguette. The soaking liquid made for a pre-picnic cocktail and the watermelon became dessert.

Here are a few pics of the amazing Macy’s fireworks show that lit up the entire Hudson.

Fireboats putting on a show at sunsetFireboat putting on a show at sunset


I handheld all these shots after consuming a bunch of the watermelon, and with exposures in the 2 second range, it’s a miracle that these didn’t turn out more blurry.

Basil Watermelon Caipirinha

12 ounces Cachaça
1/4 cup Demerara sugar (or light brown sugar)
handful of basil leaves finely chopped
1 lime juiced
1 sweet lime juiced (optional)
1 small seedless watermelon peeled and cubed (from a 3-4 pound melon)

Muddle together the Cachaça, sugar, basil and lime juices. Pour the mixture over the watermelon and let it soak overnight in the refrigerator, stirring a few times to ensure the watermelon is evenly soaked.

Serve in a bowl with some of the soaking liquid, or put it in a blender and puree for a cocktail.

  • hanna

    This looks so refreshing! Now, I've gotta get my hands on some Cachaça…

    Great pics of the fireworks show–thank you!

  • dilaBanGi

    Hello dear,
    Not only the recipe only makes me captivated but your photography skill is so strong.

  • Rachel

    mm, watermelon just got lovelier! Spectacular night shots, thank you. I was with friends in washington heights, and we walked to the George Washington bridge to catch tiny glimpses of the fireworks. But your pics make me jealous that we weren't closer to the Hudson! : )

  • The Duo Dishes

    Awesome fireworks show. Anything fireworks over water can be amazing. It's mesmerizing. Pass the booze soaked watermelon!

  • Stickygooeycreamychewy

    Both the Caipirinha and the photos look fabulous! I could never match those lovely pictures, but I think I can handle the cocktail! 😉

  • thelacquerspoon

    Beautiful summer sipping drink. Belated Happy the 4th of July!

  • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    I've not discovered the beauty of booze soaked watermelon but that looks amazingly good and think that needs to change. Thank you so much for the beautiful photos; we had a downpour in Denver…no fireworks for most of us and I missed that.

  • tasteofbeirut


    Sounds like quite an evening! I have never tasted this drink , would love to; it is watermelon season here too and they are selling it everywhere including at road stands; love your fireworks shots! Amazing! Nice to hear friendly detonations without worrying.

  • tinyurbankitchen

    You handheld a 2 second exposure? Wow . . I am really impressed.

  • Holly

    Hmm I have a watermelon that we forgot to serve on the 4th, this sounds like a great idea. Now I have figure out how to keep the kids away from it.

  • millys mini kitchen

    Wait… you're not allowed alcohol in uni in the US? I'm from England and this seems absolutely horrendous. Or is it about the age thing? Anyway, this sounds wonderful!

  • norecipes

    Both, you have to be 21 to drink here and most schools don't allow alcohol
    on campus even if you are of age.

  • Claudia

    Awesome fireworks shots! And obviously, you are the one to invite on a picnic. I've got to try that Caipirinha, it sounds so summery refreshing.

  • bcgw

    Love your fireworks photos, what a beautiful display! Drink is equally gorgeous ;]

  • sippitysup

    Happy 4th. These are beautiful images. GREG

  • Joan Nova

    Hi Marc, I came to tell you that I love your watermelon caiprinha but then I got blown away by the fireworks shots…so I love everything!

  • Colloquial Cook

    Fantastic! So, *when* are we going on a picnic together?

  • Mallory Elise

    hmm i've had a watermellon caipirinha, i really don't think cachaça and mellon mix, it's like mixing cachaça and grapes, or cachaça with banana and cinnamon…..last weekend i had a strawbery and basil caipiroska, that was great. i feel that vodka is much easier paired with the up and coming flavors (like pineapple with red peppercorns), but if yours turned out, then, fantastic! just hope you're not using 51 😛

    just a ps. (this isn't an attack, just a suggestion) i usually read the about section when i find a new food blog that looks promising (and yours does!) to get a feel if this is someone i want to keep reading. but i just wanted to let you know that i'm really turned off by one of your answers in your Faq section about linking, i really don't think many food bloggers care about linking as greatly as you put it (bloggers blog for the sake of blogging, not sure why you do it…), and it sounds as if you're putting yourself above and beyond (conceited?) like a food blog monitor. come on, we're a community. so, enjoy that tactic i suppose if you wish. other than that, good luck.

  • norecipes

    Hi Mallory, that question was not intended to sound that way, and I'm sorry
    if it was unclear. I honestly don't care all that much about linking (I
    don't ask people to link to me unless they are using my content). What
    bothers me is that I get several emails a day from bloggers saying “I linked
    to you therefore I think you should link to me”. Then when I take the time
    to send them an email explaining why I don't link to everybody, some people
    get upset.

    I agree, blogging is about community, but there's also a curatorial aspect
    about the content I post (for instance I choose to write about original
    recipes and typically don't include restaurant reviews or much in the way of
    baked goods). The same goes for links. I think there's some value in showing
    a list of blogs that I actually read on a regular basis rather than a 5 page
    long list of everyone who's ever emailed me asking to be added to my
    blogroll. It's not meant to be an exclusive club or anything and
    I regularly add and remove blogs as interest gains/wanes.

  • Bonusnoise

    If campus police ever find out that I've got boozed up watermelons once I go back to school next semester, I'll blame you for giving me such ideas. Seriously though, this recipe looks really refreshing and delicious! I definitely gotta try it.

  • Stephanie @Lick My Spoon

    mmm you had me at booze-soaked watermelon.

  • Peter G

    Beautiful pics Marc! And boy I could easily down one of those caipirinhas! Lovethe whole concept! Boozed up watermelon has been elevated to the next level!

  • Debi (Table Talk)

    Watermelon and the 4th of July go hand in hand…this version is full of celebration and the best way to cool off on a hot summer night (or afternoon).
    Your fireworks pics are just beautiful!

  • davina

    This is hilarious and i did not know about the humble watermelon's booze capacities! Thanks for sharing :) And what great shots of the fireworks. x

  • Bunkycooks

    Very neat fireworks pictures! I really miss the major firework displays. That was one of my favorite times in Boston. I guess the secret lives on…we used to fill watermelons with vodka to smuggle booze into concerts or events in college. This one had me laughing. :)

  • Nadia

    When I visit Pakistan in the summer I drink watermelon juice with tons of fresh mint and lime without alcohol though, especially since alcohol is usually acquired through a bootlegger!

    Anyway, gorgeous drink and photos. I'm sure the pulse of NYC is amazing during the 4th of July. Take care!

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  • Buhi

    Thanks for the this recipe – was an absolute hit at the “secret supper” I held Saturday! Your whole site is an inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  • Carrie

    What a gorgeous drink. Caipirinhas quickly became probably my favorite summer drink when I first tried them last summer. The added watermelon and basil sounds absolutely fantastic. And I love the color!

  • Lauren

    Beautiful Fireworks shots!

  • Anne Cannon

    Yum-yum. Can't wait to try this recipe out….could possibly be the best use of watermelon evah!

    I can't believe you got such fantastic fireworks pictures handheld!!! You must have a fancy-schmancy camera 'cuz my pictures didn't turn out anything at all like yours. They are stunning.

  • Tracy J

    holy shnikeys!! i'm intrigued by the drink and blown away by the photos. what do you shoot with?

  • norecipes

    Thanks Tracy, I shoot with a Sony Alpha a550 with a 24-70mm 2.8 lens.

  • Mara sallai

    Hi! I’m from Brazil never head about so exotic combine. I’ll give a try.


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