Closing out the Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer with Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

This post is linked to Gluten-Free WednesdaysSeasonal Sundays, and Friday Foodie Fix–Watermelon.

There’s something you’ve probably already figured out about me … I’m very opinionated. And yes, that’s even true when it comes to cocktails. My opinion on frozen margaritas in recent years has not been favorable. In my “youth,” I drank frozen margaritas. They were like a sissy-fied version of a big girl’s drink. I liked the frozen factor. I liked the lime/orange/tequila taste of the combination of lime juice, Triple Sec, and, of course, tequila. I didn’t like that if the drink wasn’t made with just the right mix of ingredients and ice, you’d run out of liquid long before you’d run out of ice. That was no fun at all and happened most of the time.

After drinking frozen margaritas for quite a few years, I ordered one and the waiter told me that the bar didn’t offer frozen drinks, but he could make me one on the rocks with ice. So I said yes, I’d try it. “Would I like salt?” he asked. Well, of course, I would. When my non-frozen margarita came, I tasted. Then I tasted some more. I made sure to get a little salt with each sip. I loved it! Why the heck had I been wasting my time on the frozen varieties? When you finish drinking a margarita on the rocks, there might be a few “rocks” left, but they don’t have that unappealing look of the slushy, devoid-of-color ice left at the end of an imperfectly made frozen margarita (which happens to be most of them).

I’ve also tried the specialty margaritas, either frozen or on the rocks. You know the ones. They have some added ingredient like Midori liqueur and you pay several dollars more for them. They always disappoint. Most taste like a frozen concoction of chemicals (and are in fact, usually loaded up with food coloring) more than anything else. I would either unhappily sip them until they were mostly finished or send them back immediately and ask for a basic margarita instead until I finally smartened up and stopped ordering them.

So why did I make frozen margaritas and why am I telling you about them if I am not a fan? Well, when using fresh fruit—in this case, watermelon that my mom and dad grew—frozen works really well for the texture and consistency that the fruit brings to the cocktail. And with this blend, you won’t end up with a lot of uncolored ice at the bottom of your glass, because look at the ingredients, there is no ice added at all! Your watermelon, lime juice, alcohol, grenadine, and sugar are all frozen together in your ice cream maker. If your frozen concoction melts before you finish it (which I must tell you is not highly likely from my own personal experience), there will only be the goodness of the ingredients themselves to finish sipping. So make some Frozen Watermelon Margaritas and sip to the very last drop!

Frozen Watermelon Margaritas

3 cups of watermelon, cubed (without rinds or seeds) and already chilled

1/8 cup lime juice

½ cup tequila

2 – 3 tbsp grenadine syrup or liqueur (optional; for more dramatic color, but also adds sweetness … you can even make your own grenadine syrup using pomegranates or POM Wonderful juice)

3 tbsp Cointreau, Triple Sec, or Grand Marnier liqueur (I used Triple Sec because that’s what we had on hand)

2 tbsp sugar, or more to taste (I used coconut sugar)

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Pour into already frozen tub of your ice cream maker.

Rinse out blender pitcher and set aside.

Churn for about 15 minutes or until perfect frozen cocktail consistency.

Serve. Remove any leftover frozen margaritas from the ice cream tub and place in the blender pitcher. Store pitcher in the freezer. For the second round, be sure to pull the pitcher out several minutes before you wish to serve. If the ingredients have gotten “chunky” while in the freezer, you may even want to blend your ingredients a few minutes before serving. Oh, what the heck, just leave the pitcher nearby, because you will slurp down these babies a lot faster than you can get through the steamed crabs (or other delectables) that you might be enjoying with your margaritas. Especially if the temps are still warm enough. “Indian summers” do happen. And they happen a lot here in our part ofVirginia. We’ve eaten crabs outside with such suitable liquid refreshment as late as Halloween before. I love it when that happens!

Inspired by a watermelon martini recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine

Shirley’s Notes: I chilled all my liquid ingredients about an hour before I made my margaritas.

Not just gf, but gfe!

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46 Responses to “Closing out the Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer with Frozen Watermelon Margaritas”

  1. Kay Guest on September 7th, 2011 12:47 pm

    Hey Shirley!
    This sounds like a very smart way to make these. Are you a genius? I’ll bet those watermelons taste better since they are grown by your Dad & Mom, am I right?

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 7:45 pm

      Hi Kay–LOL Yes, the watermelons taste much better. I was such a lucky girl … I ended up with three of their watermelons! I’ve had this drink in mind since earlier this summer when I bought a seedless watermelon. But the timing wasn’t right for relaxed cocktails then. ;-) It was well worth the effort to pluck out the seeds from one of mom and dad’s watermelons when the time came though. ;-)


  2. Kim (Cook IT Allergy Free) on September 7th, 2011 12:58 pm

    Wow! First off, that watermelon that your parents grew is just gorgeous!! What a perfect way to make great use of it!! And now… the important thing is how amazing this margarita looks! I am with you in the frozen margarita department – not usually my way of choice. But..of course, this one may change my mind for sure!
    Oh, and opinionated? You?? No way, missy! ;) But only in the best way!

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 7:48 pm

      Hi Kim–Thanks, dear! I am a huge lover of watermelons as you know. Getting three of those babies from mom and dad was a very special treat indeed. Their watermelons did really well this year. It’s always a gamble with critter and weather factors, you know!

      Yes, I think you’d enjoy this particular variety of frozen margarita. :-) LOL on my “opinionatedness” … you’re too kind! :-)


  3. Kalyn on September 7th, 2011 1:34 pm

    This sounds like a perfect summer drink. (I can’t bring myself to type “close out summer.”

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 7:51 pm

      Hi Kalyn–Thanks! I know re: summer. Ours turned out so hot for the most part and then so wet in the end, that it wasn’t my favorite summer on record. Plus, I do love fall. However, I know in your case, you’ll hate for your amazing garden to wind down. And honestly, so will I, as I truly love all your garden creations! :-)


  4. glutenfreeforgood on September 7th, 2011 2:02 pm

    I love watermelon in smoothies, but have yet to try a “spiked” version. Your parents did a fine job of growing these treats and your margaritas look refreshing as can be. It’s not a lazy day of summer here in the Rockies. In fact, it’s about 50 degrees and raining. Snow flurries are expected on Vail Pass today. As you might guess, I’m loving it. I’m also thinking a hot drink might be more in order right now. I’ll save your recipe for a warmer day. We’ll have plenty more of those this fall. Great change up recipe, Shirley. It’s never boring over here at GFE!

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:23 pm

      Hi Melissa–Thanks! Mom and dad are smart gardeners. They have a small garden now and only grow the fruits and veggies that are easy to grow and that they really like.

      I love how you embrace your very changeable weather, Melissa. ;-) It’s actually been raining here for days now. It’s been a while since we’ve had a day like the one where I enjoyed these margaritas, but I’m sure that there are lazy, hazy days somewhere. Even if not, some will be ready for this recipe. And if not, it will be in the archives for when it does get warm again. :-)


  5. Alisa Fleming on September 7th, 2011 4:10 pm

    Yum! Though I’d go for a dacquiri, not a tequila fan. Amazing how watermelons are still so in season. I remember them growing up only being early summer, but they are STILL on sale this week and look great … and are local. Crazy. I wonder if it will be a late fall harvest this year.

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:26 pm

      Hey Alisa–Yes, I’m sure you could turn this recipe into a dacquiri! Mom and dad’s watermelons are long gone now and it they weren’t, the rain this week would have done them in. I imagine that where you are, watemelons are planted and ripen much later. Having watemelons late into the season is fun, but I guess if they start competing with the pumpkins for display space, that will be just plain weird! ;-)


  6. Tina @madame gluten-free vegetarian on September 7th, 2011 4:11 pm

    Hi Shirley,

    Welcome home! I can’t drink (due to RA) but if I could, this sounds delicious.

    I wish I was better at gardening. The watermelon your parents grew looks delicious. I can only handle a tomato plant and fresh herbs. Well, we all have to know our limitations, right? :)

    Take care,

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:29 pm

      Hi Tina–Thanks!! It seems like I’ve been back a very long time now. ;-)

      I’m sure a virgin version of this cocktail would still be good. :-) Homegrown omatoes and herbs sound good to me!


  7. Heidi @ Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom on September 7th, 2011 4:43 pm

    That looks so good Shirley! I’m an on-the-rocks margarita girl (with lots of salt!) but you have made a great case for your frozen watermelon margaritas. I just so happen to have a watermelon from my garden that is begging for a little tequila, LOL!

    Gonna have to make some crab and artichokes to go with my happy drinky!


    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:33 pm

      Hey Heidi–Yep, I LOVE lots of salt, too. When folks don’t want salt on their margaritas, I’m like “what??” I love that you’ve grown a watermelon. I hope you have enjoyed some other watermelons already. Otherwise, it would be hard to sacrifice one for these margaritas. You have kiddos after all. ;-)

      This made for the perfect meal for sure! xo,

  8. Linda on September 7th, 2011 9:57 pm

    You are the cocktail queen! We’re really not cocktail drinkers here, but this sounds really good. I might have to buy the ingredients and give it a try.

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:34 pm

      Hi Linda–Thanks, dear! I think cocktails are fun. :-) But as I was saying to Tina, a virgin version would be good, too. ;-)


  9. Ricki on September 7th, 2011 11:18 pm

    I can’t believe your parents GREW that watermelon!! That would basically be an impossibility here (given my lack of green thumbs). Looks delish!

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:51 pm

      Hi Ricki–Mom and dad did really well, didn’t they?! Thanks, dear!


  10. InTolerantChef on September 8th, 2011 6:54 am

    There’s nothing wrong with having an opinon, especially if it’s right :) I love the look of that frozen fantastic watermelon wonderfulness!

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:54 pm

      InTolerantChef–Haha, I like the way you think! ;-) I bet all your friends love you for that. :-) Thanks re: this margarita … such great alliteration! :-)


  11. Jeanette on September 8th, 2011 7:44 am

    What a beautiful watermelon from your parent’s yard. I remember growing watermelon one summer for the kids and it took over the entire side of the yard! I’ve never had a watermelon margarita, but it sure looks good! (and I like the steamed crabs in the background – I’m a Maryland girl).

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:55 pm

      Hi Jeanette–Thanks! What fun on watermelon madness! ;-) I had no idea you were a Maryland gal … yep, your kind of meal. :-) We truly can’t resist crabs. We had some again this evening!


  12. Ina Gawne on September 8th, 2011 9:54 am

    Wow, homegrown watermelon? Must be so so good! Those crabs look mouthwatering delicious too, and artichokes? I want to come to your house!

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 9:59 pm

      Hi Ina–I got three watermelons from mom and dad and they were all great! Crabs and artichokes are one of our favorite meals. You’re welcome to join us any time! :-)


  13. Lexie on September 8th, 2011 11:36 am

    Well, had I known you were having crab, artichokes and margaritas … well, I would have crashed you weekend :)!!! I know a place you can make these while enjoying a sunset over the Pacific. I will pack my Blendtec if need be.


    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 10:00 pm

      Hey Lexie–That would have been fantastic! hmmm, I’d hate for you to have to “tote” your Blendtec but …. ;-)


  14. Kalinda on September 8th, 2011 11:46 am

    I must admit, the margarita looks good, but I’m much more interested in the artichokes and crabs. Looks like a great sit-around-and-relax meal.

    • Shirley on September 8th, 2011 10:03 pm

      Hey Kalinda–You’ve captured exactly why we like crabs and artichokes so much! They simply can’t be rushed. Whenever we eat either or both, we always catch up on things we need—or want—to talk about. :-)


  15. Cate@GlutenLessDining on September 8th, 2011 2:14 pm

    What a great idea, a watermelon margarita! My Mom and Dad have a farm in North East Texas and there’s just no beating their vegetables! How special!

  16. Maggie on September 9th, 2011 1:07 pm

    You are so lucky! Watermelon from your parents’ garden?! This drink looks delightfully delicious. I might have to whip up a virgin version for the kids and I. xo

    • Shirley on September 10th, 2011 1:02 am

      Hi Maggie–Yes, I am super lucky! :-) A virgin version would be lovely. ;-)


  17. Hallie @ Daily Bites on September 9th, 2011 2:20 pm

    Sad that summer’s coming to an end, but sending the year out with watermelon is a good way to do it. :) I think a virgin version is in the cards for this weekend.

    • Shirley on September 10th, 2011 1:04 am

      Hallie–Yes, always a time with mixed feelings. This watermelon was soo good. I’d like to have one every week. ;-) Seems like I need to have a spiked version ANF a non-spiked version fro all my friends. :-) I can do that!


  18. Michelle on September 13th, 2011 9:43 pm

    Great idea! I froze my extra seeded watermelon cubes. I put the frozen melon into the blender with the other ingredients! I made some mint simple syrup. The last watermelon cocktail was just the watermelon, vodka, and mint syrup. Yum! I have 3 gallons of frozen watermelon to take me through the winter.

  19. Theophanie on September 18th, 2011 1:36 pm

    Hello again, I love your blog and am your newest follower! I am so glad we were in the same tea party!

    • Shirley on September 19th, 2011 12:03 pm

      Hi Theophanie–Even though this is your second comment, I’ll welcome you here … thanks for the sweet words and following gfe. I’m happy to have you here! :-) Being selected by Lisa for her tea party event was a nice treat, wasn’t it? Can’t wait to try your Pineapple Lemonade! ;-)


  20. Amber on May 1st, 2012 12:54 am

    Hi There Shirley,

    Just a note to let you know I shared your awesome recipe on my monthly recipe round-up: Mother’s Day Edition. If you get a chance, come on over and check out the other inspiring recipes from sweet indulgence to homemade gifts.


    • Shirley on May 2nd, 2012 11:28 am

      I am so honored to be included Amber! That roundup is awesome. It made me feel pampered just reading it! Honestly. Son is graduating from college the day before Mother’s Day. That is truly ALL I want this year. :-)


  21. The Cocktail Lady on July 9th, 2012 3:01 pm

    Hello! Your frozen watermelon margaritas sound delicious! I’ve never thought of adding watermelon to my margaritas, great idea! I think I may just have to try them one day! Thank You for the recipe. Your site is great!

    • Shirley on July 10th, 2012 10:53 am

      Hi Cocktail Lady–Welcome to gfe! I think you are friend of my friend, Steph’s, if I recall correctly. Watermelon is made to go with margaritas! Let me know if you give it a try, and thanks for the lovely feedback on my site. :-) Incidentally, I think you must be having a very good year with a cocktail a day. The daily cocktail seems critical with our heat of late. ;-)


      • The Cocktail Lady on July 10th, 2012 2:07 pm

        Hello Shirley! Thank You for the welcome! You are correct, Steph and I are friends as well (love her)! I will most definitely let you know if I try this margarita. I am having a good year with all of these cocktails, haha, plus it’s leap year so I get to sneak one extra one in as well.

        The Cocktail Lady

        • Shirley on July 10th, 2012 9:09 pm

          Hi again, Cocktail Lady–We all love Steph! :-) How interesting that you chose a year with an extra day … I mean cocktail. ;-)


  22. Sarah || Celiac in the City on July 11th, 2013 5:33 pm

    Boy am I glad you reposted this! It’s margarita season!!! And I’m with you — I don’t know why I ever bothered with the frozen ones, my dad taught me all about REAL margaritas. ;) But I’ll be trying these out for sure. (and I love that the melons were family grown!) Happy summer — cheers!!!

    • Shirley on July 12th, 2013 7:05 pm

      Hey Sarah–I thought every season was margarita season! ;-) Summer is just margaritas-made-with-fresh-fruit season. LOL It’s such a shame we wasted so much time, isn’t it? I remember ordering a frozen margarita one time and the server said, we only have them on the rocks and I said, okay, I’ll try one. And the rest is history as they say! :-) I don’t think mom and dad grew any melons this year, but I better check, huh?

      Happy Summer back! It’s flyyyyyyyying!

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