Watermelon punch is the ultimate summer party drink. It's even better when the punch bowl is the watermelon. It's a fun and easy way to add an extra wow factor to your backyard bash.
The punch itself is a delicious blend of homemade raspberry lemonade and fresh watermelon juice. Since it's made entirely with fresh fruit, the taste is bright, refreshing, and perfect for a hot day. While it's designed to be a non-alcoholic punch, you can certainly spike it with a cup of rum, tequila, or vodka.
With the average 15-pound watermelon, the recipe yields about 80 ounces of punch. That's enough for 20 four-ounce servings or 12 six-ounce servings. It's easy to adjust the volume for different-sized watermelons.
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this punch is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.
Make the Raspberry Lemonade
Gather the ingredients.
In a medium saucepan, make a syrup by combining the sugar with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil while stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the raspberries, stir and mash the berries, and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Strain the raspberry syrup using a fine-mesh strainer over a medium-sized bowl. Adding a layer of cheesecloth helps catch the tiny seeds; Gather it up and squeeze out the syrup.
Juice enough lemons to make 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fresh lemon juice. Strain out the seeds.
In a pitcher, combine 1 1/2 cups each of raspberry syrup and lemon juice. Add 4 cups of cold water and stir well to combine.
Store in the refrigerator until it's time to make the punch.
Make the Watermelon Punch
Create a punch bowl out of the watermelon: If the watermelon doesn't stand up on its own, use a sharp, long knife to shave off a very thin layer of the rind on the bottom so it's a flat surface. With the watermelon sitting on its side, cut off the top two inches, this time cutting past the rind so you can access the red flesh inside. Set the watermelon on a plate.
Scoop out all of the red flesh except the bottom few inches of watermelon, placing the fruit into a large bowl.
In a blender, work in batches to blend the watermelon into a juicy pulp.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and add the watermelon pulp. Use a spoon to move the pulp around to release more juice into the bowl underneath.
In a large bowl or pitcher, pour 7 cups each of watermelon juice and raspberry lemonade. Stir well and add more of either ingredient to suit your taste. Chill until ready to serve.
For service, fill the watermelon punch bowl with the punch. Ladle into individual cups filled with ice. Offer fresh raspberries and lemon slices for a garnish.
- A 15-pound watermelon produces between 8 and 10 cups of juice. The hollow bowl will hold about 10 cups of punch with a little room to spare.
- Keep the raspberry lemonade and watermelon juice in equal proportion when adapting the recipe to larger or smaller watermelons.
- Store any excess punch in the refrigerator to refill the bowl as needed.
- Add large pieces of ice if you're serving the punch outside on a hot day.
- You can make the raspberry lemonade a day or two in advance. Cutting the watermelon and preparing the juice can be done the night before. Any earlier and you're risking a ruined punch bowl. Cover the empty watermelon with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
- The filled watermelon bowl is hefty and difficult to move. Don't fill it until you know exactly where you're placing it for the party.
- Add sparkle and volume by topping the punch bowl off with club soda, ginger ale, or sparkling wine. Or, offer a soda or wine option so guests can add it to their glass if they like.
- Switch from raspberries to pineapple chunks or strawberries when making the syrup. Both fruits are excellent pairings for watermelon.