Fresh Watermelon Vodka Cocktail (with Basil)

Cara Campbell
by Cara Campbell
1 drink
10 min

Get ready because these watermelon vodka cocktails might be the most refreshing drink you've ever had. They're sweet, fruity, and so thirst-quenching. Perfect for a hot sunny day on the patio!

Watermelon basil cocktail with barware in the background.

You can make this drink with vodka or rum, whatever you prefer. Even gin would be delicious in these. Or - leave the alcohol at the door for a non-alcoholic version. The possibilities are endless, really.

Plus, this drink it super easy to put together. The hardest part is pureeing the watermelon, which takes all of ten seconds. Get ready to fall in love with this summer sipper!

Elevate your cocktail game with a refreshing watermelon vodka cocktail. This vibrant blend of fresh watermelon, basil, and zesty lime is the perfect summer sip. Cheers!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you make a watermelon vodka cocktail?

To make a watermelon vodka cocktail, blend fresh watermelon chunks until smooth, strain the juice, and combine it with vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake with ice, strain into glasses, and garnish with watermelon wedges and basil leaves.

What are some variations of watermelon vodka cocktails?

Some popular variations of watermelon vodka cocktails include adding mint or cucumber for a refreshing twist, using different citrus juices like grapefruit or lemon, or incorporating other fruits like strawberries or pineapple for added flavor.

Can I make a watermelon vodka cocktail without alcohol?

Absolutely! For a non-alcoholic version, simply omit the vodka and increase the amount of watermelon puree and other ingredients. You can still enjoy the refreshing flavors of a watermelon cocktail without the alcohol content.

Can I use frozen watermelon instead of fresh for the cocktail?

Yes, you can use frozen watermelon if fresh is not available. Just ensure it is thawed before blending to achieve a smooth consistency.

Are watermelon vodka cocktails gluten-free?

Yes, watermelon vodka cocktails are typically gluten-free. However, it's important to verify that the vodka brand you're using is gluten-free, as some varieties may contain traces of gluten.

A watermelon vodka cocktail with basil and fresh watermelon.
Why You're Going to Love This Recipe

  • Refreshing and Summery: Perfect for hot days and embracing the summer vibes.
  • Bursting with Flavor: Sweet and juicy watermelon, aromatic basil, and zesty lime juice create a delightful flavor combination.
  • Versatile and Customizable: Easily adaptable with variations such as mint, strawberry, jalapeño, and more.
  • Balanced: The combination of sweet, tangy, and herbal elements creates a well-rounded and satisfying taste experience.
  • Easy and Quick: With simple instructions and readily available ingredients, you can whip up this cocktail in no time.
  • Perfect for Entertaining: Impress your guests with this vibrant and sophisticated cocktail that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: The vibrant pink color and garnishes of watermelon wedges and basil leaves make for an Instagram-worthy presentation.


Watermelon: The star ingredient, providing a sweet and juicy base for the cocktail. It adds a refreshing and summery flavor that pairs perfectly with other ingredients.

Basil: The aromatic herb that adds a delightful herbal note to the cocktail. It complements the sweetness of watermelon and adds a touch of complexity to the flavor profile.

Vodka: The spirit of choice, adding a smooth and clean taste to the cocktail. Vodka serves as a neutral base that allows the watermelon and basil flavors to shine. That being said, you can also switch it up with rum (I've tried this, so delicious).

Lime Juice: Provides a tangy and citrusy element that balances the sweetness of the watermelon. It adds a bright and zesty note, enhancing the overall freshness of the cocktail.

Simple Syrup: A sweetener that helps to balance the flavors and add a touch of sweetness to the cocktail. It ensures that the drink is well-rounded and harmonious in taste.

The ingredients for a watermelon basil vodka cocktail.
How to Make a Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

Let's walk you through how to make this fabulous watermelon vodka cocktail. It's super easy, and I promise you'll love the end result.

First things first, you'll need some fresh watermelon. Cut it into chunks and toss them into a blender. Blend it until you get a smooth and luscious puree. Oh, the aroma already!

Chunks of watermelon in a blender.
The watermelon blended into a puree.

But wait, we're not done yet! To ensure a smooth and silky cocktail, you'll want to strain the watermelon puree. Grab a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth and strain the puree into a bowl, removing any pulp. This step ensures a velvety texture that will elevate your drinking experience.

Straining the puree.
The juice after it's been strained.

Now, let's move on. Grab a handful of fresh basil leaves and give them a gentle squeeze to release their fragrant oils. This step adds an aromatic touch to the cocktail. So good!

Now, it's time to mix things up. Grab a cocktail shaker and add in some ice cubes. Pour in a generous amount of vodka, the strained watermelon puree, a splash of lime juice for that zesty kick, and a touch of simple syrup to balance the flavors. Shake it up like a pro! Can you feel the anticipation?

The ingredients for a watermelon basil cocktail in a cocktail shaker.

Once you've given it a good shake, strain the mixture into glasses filled with ice. This ensures a smooth and refined sip. Oh, and don't forget to garnish with watermelon wedges and fresh basil leaves. It adds that extra flair and makes it look fancy!

Make it Alcohol-Free

You can easily make this drink non-alcoholic by simply omitting the vodka. If you still want some of that flavor, you can substitute it with a non-alcoholic spirit.


This cocktail is so versatile, you can experiment in many different ways. Here are a few suggestions, but feel free to let your imagination run wild!

Mint Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Add a handful of fresh mint leaves to the cocktail shaker and muddle them with the basil. Proceed with the original recipe.

Watermelon Vodka Spritzer:

After straining the cocktail, top it off with a splash of Sprite or soda water for a fizzy twist. Adjust the amount to your liking.

Watermelon Vodka Champagne Cocktail:

Replace the simple syrup with a splash of Cointreau (orange liqueur). Shake the mixture with ice, strain into a glass, and top with chilled champagne for a sparkling celebration.

Strawberry Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Add a handful of fresh strawberries to the blender along with the watermelon. Blend, strain, and proceed with the original recipe.

Jalapeño Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Muddle a few slices of jalapeño along with the basil leaves to infuse a spicy kick. Strain the mixture before adding the remaining ingredients.

Lychee Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Replace the simple syrup with lychee syrup for a touch of exotic sweetness. Shake with ice, strain, and enjoy the tropical flavors.

Cucumber Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Add a few slices of fresh cucumber to the blender along with the watermelon. Blend, strain, and proceed with the original recipe for a refreshing twist.

Vanilla Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Infuse the simple syrup with a hint of vanilla extract. Add the flavored syrup to the cocktail shaker along with the other ingredients.

Ginger Watermelon Vodka Cocktail:

Muddle a few slices of fresh ginger and basil leaves for a spicy and aromatic twist. Strain the mixture before adding the remaining ingredients.

Frozen Slush Version:

  • Blend the watermelon puree, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup with ice until smooth and slushy. Adjust the sweetness and consistency to your liking. Serve in a chilled glass.

Lemonade Version:

  • Replace the lime juice with freshly squeezed lemon juice for a tangy twist! Adjust the amount of simple syrup and lemon juice to balance the flavors.
Watermelon, vodka, and basil drink in a glass with garnish.
Batching and Making Ahead

So, to batch-make this cocktail, here's what you're going to do:

  1. Multiply the quantities of the ingredients in the original recipe based on the number of servings you want to make. For example, if the original recipe makes one serving, and you want to make four servings, multiply all the ingredient quantities by four.
  2. Prepare the watermelon puree by blending the desired amount of watermelon chunks until smooth. Strain the puree if desired for a smoother texture.
  3. In a large pitcher or container, combine the multiplied amounts of watermelon puree, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup. Stir or gently shake the mixture to ensure all the flavors are well combined.
  4. Add ice cubes to the pitcher or container to chill the cocktail. You can also refrigerate the mixture if you prefer to serve it chilled without ice.
  5. When ready to serve, pour the watermelon vodka cocktail into individual glasses filled with ice. Garnish as desired with watermelon wedges, basil leaves, or any other preferred garnish.

And, to make it ahead of time:

  1. Follow the batch preparation steps mentioned above to make a larger quantity of the watermelon vodka cocktail.
  2. Instead of adding ice cubes directly to the pitcher or container, cover the mixture tightly and refrigerate it until you're ready to serve.
  3. When it's time to enjoy the cocktail, take the pre-prepared mixture out of the refrigerator and give it a good stir.
  4. Fill individual glasses with ice cubes, and pour the chilled watermelon vodka cocktail over the ice.
  5. Garnish the glasses with watermelon wedges, basil leaves, or any other desired garnish.
Two watermelon drinks with ice, basil, and watermelon wedges.
Pro Tips and Tricks

Here are some pro tips and tricks to take your watermelon vodka cocktail to the next level:

Choose Ripe Watermelon: Opt for a ripe and sweet watermelon to ensure maximum flavor in your cocktail. Look for a melon that feels heavy for its size and has a deep, uniform color.

Experiment with Herb Infusions: Besides basil, you can try infusing the vodka with other herbs like mint or rosemary. Simply add the herbs to the vodka and let it sit for a few hours or overnight to infuse the flavors.

Adjust the Sweetness: Taste your watermelon before adding simple syrup. If it's naturally sweet enough for your liking, you can reduce or omit the simple syrup altogether. Adjust the sweetness to suit your taste preferences.

Pre-Chill Your Glasses: For an extra touch of elegance, chill your cocktail glasses in the freezer before serving. This helps keep your cocktail colder for longer and enhances the overall drinking experience.

Garnish Creatively: Get creative with your garnishes! Try adding a twist of lime peel, a sprig of fresh basil or mint, or even a watermelon wedge on the rim of the glass. It adds visual appeal and hints at the flavors inside.

Experiment with Glassware: Explore different glassware options for serving your watermelon vodka cocktail. Stemmed glasses, mason jars, or even fancy coupe glasses can elevate the presentation and make it feel extra special.

Control the Intensity: If you prefer a milder flavor profile, start by using less basil and gradually adjust to your taste. You can always add more basil if desired, but it's easier to control the intensity when adding it gradually.

Batch and Chill: Hosting a gathering? Consider making a larger batch of the cocktail ahead of time and chilling it in the refrigerator. This way, you can enjoy the party without having to mix individual drinks throughout the evening.

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Fresh Watermelon Vodka Cocktail (with Basil)
Recipe details
  • 1  drink
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 0 Minutes Total time: 10 min
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  • 2 cups watermelon see instructions below for puree
  • 4 oz fresh watermelon puree
  • 8-10 basil leaves
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz vodka or rum
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • watermelon and basil leaves for garnish

Blend watermelon until smooth and strain.
Muddle basil leaves in a glass with the simple syrup gently for flavor.
Add ice, vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, and 4 oz of the watermelon puree in a shaker.
Shake for 20 seconds.
Strain into glasses filled with ice.
Garnish with watermelon wedge and basil leaf.
  • Customize the sweetness: Adjust the amount of simple syrup to suit your taste preferences. Add more for a sweeter cocktail or reduce it for a more tart and refreshing sip.
  • Experiment with herbs: While basil adds a wonderful aroma, feel free to get creative and try other herbs like mint or thyme for a unique twist on this cocktail.
  • Fresh is best: To truly indulge in the flavors of summer, use fresh watermelon and basil for the best taste. It makes a difference!
  • Cheers to creativity: Don't be afraid to put your own spin on this recipe. Add a splash of sparkling water for a fizzy twist or garnish with a sprinkle of black pepper for a hint of spice. Let your imagination soar!
Cara Campbell
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