Basil Infused Watermelon Mocktail (for Mother's Day)

It’s official! I’m having a love affair with watermelon.  If you would have caught me a year ago I wouldn’t have even touched the rounded green orb. In fact, I’ve had a life-long aversion to the watemelon. I can’t even tell you why. Now, it seems I can’t get enough of that pink and sometimes yellow sweet flesh. I’m smitten! 

So, here’s the recipe I submitted for the Kitchen Challenge at the conference in Washington, DC.  And it even got a honorable mention by none other than Bonnie Benwick, interim Food Editor of  My fabulous cooking team included Kathy Blake ( Betty Ann Quirino ( and Jennifer Levac ( Whew! That’s quite a list.  Anywho, here is the fabulous recipe and a picture of the mocktail.  With my compliments - ENJOY!!!


2C watermelon juice
3Tbls basil simple syrup (or to taste)
Juice of 1 medium lime
1/2-1C of sparkling water
2 stems basil (for garnish)


Combine watermelon juice, basil simple syrup, lime juice and sparkling water in a small pitcher.  Stir to incorporate.  Chill.  Pour into 4 4-ounce cocktail glasses. Garnish.  Serve.

Watermelon Juice

6C personal watermelon, rough chop (yields 2 cups of juice)

Place watermelon in a blender. Puree watermelon until liquid. Pour watermelon juice through a medium sieve.  Pour first run sieved watermelon juice through a smaller mesh sieve.  Skim foam off top of watermelon juice. Chill.  Can be kept for up to 3-days refrigerated, 1 month frozen.

Basil Simple Syrup

1C simple syrup
1C water
1-2C fresh basil leaves

Combine sugar, water and basil leaves in a saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved.  Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat and let steep for 15 minutes or until cooled. Separate basil and syrup.  Discard basil.  Place into a container and refrigerate.  Can be kept for up to 1 month.

Yields 4 4-ounce servings.

p.s. Don’t forget if you want to go from mock-tail to cocktail just add your favorite spirit like vodka or gin.

*you can always add more simple syrup, lime juice and/or sparkling water to your taste.
*you can use most any herb or spice to make an infusion with the simple syrup - just use the basic recipe above.  also, remember use 1/2 the amount when using dried herbs or spices.
*don’t skip the sieving part of the watermelon juice because the pulp will always separate from the actual juice - you always want the pure juice.  
*alternatively from the recipe above you can always puree your watermelon & leave the juice in the refrigerator overnight.  the pulp will separate from the juice.  the next day you’ll just need to scoop off all the pulp.