On a hot summer day, there's nothing like this Watermelon Mint Lemonade! It's refreshing, delicious, easy and make-ahead.
A couple of weeks ago, I took my granddaughter Annie, to Chick-fil-A for lunch. I was scanning the menu and my eyes stopped at Watermelon Mint Lemonade. Maybe it's been on the menu for a long time but, not being a frequent fast-food consumer, it was the first time I'd noticed it.
"Annie, would you like to try the Watermelon Mint Lemonade?" I thought she might think it was a strange combination, but she didn't hesitate for a minute. "Sure!" she replied.
When our food arrived I was curious and asked if I could try a sip of her drink. Oh my goodness! I loved it and so did Annie. I knew right away I was going to have to figure out how to make this wonderfully refreshing drink.
It seems we're all in a hurry these days, so I decided to start with a can of frozen lemonade. That made things simple, as all I had to play around with was the watermelon and mint. A couple days later, I bought a beautiful seedless watermelon and a big bunch of mint and was ready to roll.
How to add lots of watermelon and mint flavor?
It was surprising how much watermelon it took to actually arrive with a distinct watermelon flavor. I started with around 4 cups of diced watermelon and was finally happy with the recipe at 8 cups (about ½ of a medium size seedless watermelon).
I pureed the watermelon in the blender along with some of the frozen lemonade. Watermelon drinks can be a bit "pulpy" though, which is great for a smoothie or slushie, but I didn't want that for my lemonade. Straining the pureed mixture with a fine mesh strainer took care of that problem easily.
Along with the watermelon, the Chick-fil-A lemonade also had a distinct mint flavor. I decided to achieve that with muddling and steeping. What's muddling? It's simply bruising herb leaves in order to release the oils which contain their wonderful flavor. I don't have a muddler so I used the blunt end of a large wooded spoon to crush or "bruise" my mint. It worked like a charm!
Allowing the muddled mint to steep in the lemonade for about 15 minutes was all it took to get lots of bright, fresh mint flavor. The muddled mint was then discarded and when I served my watermelon mint lemonade, I used beautiful fresh mint sprigs for garnish along with pretty yellow lemon slices. I couldn't wait to let Annie try it. I let her be the official "taste-tester" and the smile on her face after the first sip was a huge thumbs up!
Make it ahead and freeze
In the process of getting this recipe "just right" I made several batches and had quite a "stash". I decided to try freezing it so I could serve it for the 4th of July. I used a large Rubbermaid container and just pulled it out a few hours before our guests arrived. It tasted like it was freshly made!
Is the summer heat is getting to you? It's been in the mid 90's here in Carolina for quite a string of days now. Just looking at these pictures make me want another a batch of this Watermelon Mint Lemonade. Try it! I think you'll find too, that it's the perfect way to beat the heat!
- 1 12- ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate thawed
- 8 cups diced seedless watermelon
- 5 cups water
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves packed, plus more for garnish
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Combine frozen lemonade and watermelon in a blender container. Blend for 1 minute until smooth.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour lemonade/watermelon mixture into strainer and allow to drain. Stir occasionally until almost all of the liquid is strained into the bowl.
Combine lemonade/watermelon mixture with the water and stir well.
Place mint leaves and sugar in a small bowl. With a muddler or the blunt end of a wooden spoon or other kitchen utensil, crush (or bruise) the mint leaves a bit to release the oils.
Add crushed mint leaves to the lemonade and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Remove mint leaves and discard.
Serve lemonade chilled over ice with lemon slices and fresh mint sprigs for garnish
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