Watermelon “Gin”ger & Tonic Cocktails

Watermelon “Gin”ger & Tonic Cocktails
Jump to Recipe

Welcome back, and in case you lost track of time, it is STILL 2020! If there’s something that seems to have defined this year of pandemic and quarantine, it’s alcohol consumption. Everyone is talking about drinking more to drive away the pain of being forcibly isolated. Wine sales are through the roof. People are trying cocktails they’ve never made at home before. Ina Garten is making a cosmo bigger than your head. It’s madness.

On the other hand, I decided to take this time to go sober. Or, more sober. I initially cut out alcohol entirely for health reasons, and started to slowly introduce a little back into my life on special occasions. We still have decorative bottles of alcohol, but I no longer reach for a glass of wine or some cocktails to close out the night. It has helped my mental health immensely, and helped me lose 15 lbs despite being home with all of the snacks my heart can desire. So the goal is to not go back to regular alcohol consumption!

Watermelon Mocktail | The Kitchen Gent

My friends have been super supportive during this journey, and even got me a fancy non-alcoholic cocktails book for my birthday. This book was written by members of the Alinea Group, behind Alinea restaurant in Chicago. You can see Chef Grant Achatz’ episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix to see why that’s such a big deal. So because this book was made by the people behind one of the most cutting-edge restaurants in the world, you can imagine that the recipes are a little complicated. The ingredients can be hard to source, or some methods might be out of reach for the average home cook. That’s where I come in. My goal is to take some of these recipes and simplify them so that you can make them at home. If you’re trying to take alcohol out of your life, or are wanting to impress someone who can’t have alcohol, then these recipes are for you!

Watermelon Mocktail | The Kitchen Gent

I chose this watermelon “gin”ger and tonic because I got a gorgeous watermelon in my CSA box towards the end of summer. Trust me, I love fall recipes, but I find it hard to let go of summer. Making this drink brought me back to the sunshine and fresh produce that is about to be replaced with hearty root vegetables and cool evenings. Now while I am slightly simplifying this recipe, it still is very involved. Butchering the watermelon alone took me forever because it wasn’t seedless and I’m easily intimidated by large projects. It ended up taking about a quarter of a watermelon, which means the rest can be snacked on, turned into a granita, or used for some watermelon pickles. Making the syrups takes time and care, but the end result is a batch that is complex, tart, and refreshing.

Watermelon Mocktail | The Kitchen Gent

Gin is popular because of its botanical taste, derived most often from juniper berries. To attempt to recreate that, this recipe uses turmeric, ginger, and vinegar along with plenty of sugar, lime, and watermelon to send your tastebuds into a whirlwind. The sour, sweet, and bitter notes come together beautifully to make a cocktail that you would swear had to have been made by a master bartender. Just be sure to make this batch well ahead of time – getting the individual components set up can take some time, and it’s best served chilled so you want it to have plenty of time in the fridge.

Amaze your friends with your skills, or tell them you paid a bunch of money for batch cocktails to go from your fav bar and make them Venmo you for them, I don’t control your life. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy all of the flavor with none of the alcohol, and can use this as a way to entertain your sober friends and family without having to resort to plain sparkling water AGAIN. Stay tuned for more recipes from this book, because I truly love the artistry of the Alinea Group and am inspired to take my home bar game to new heights. Here’s to good drinking, great eating, and even better living!

Watermelon Mocktail | The Kitchen Gent
Watermelon Mocktail | The Kitchen Gent

Watermelon “Gin”ger & Tonic

You won't miss the gin in this summery cocktail, which uses a variety of spices and flavors to keep your tastebuds on their toes.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Chill Time 3 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cocktails


  • Food processor


For the ginger syrup

  • 70 g ginger
  • 70 g sugar
  • 70 g water

For the watermelon syrup

  • 200 g fresh watermelon
  • 100 g sugar

For the turmeric vinegar

  • 125 g water
  • 30 g white wine vinegar
  • 10 g sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric

For the watermelon base batch

  • 250 g watermelon syrup
  • 200 g water
  • 200 g white grape juice
  • 130 g turmeric vinegar
  • 80 g ginger syrup
  • 70 g ginger beer/soda

To assemble

  • 4 oz watermelon base batch
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz sparkling water


For the ginger syrup

  • Blitz the ginger and sugar together in a food processor until the ginger is finely chopped and incorporated into the sugar. Add the ginger/sugar mixture and the water into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thickened. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

For the watermelon syrup

  • Blitz the watermelon in a food processor until it's a juicy pulp. Strain into a large bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pressing the pulp against the sides of the strainer to release all of the juice. Discard the pulp and add the sugar to the juice, whisking well to combine until all sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

For the turmeric vinegar

  • Add all ingredients to a saucepan and cover it, then bring it to a boil. Remove the heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture to make sure no clumps of turmeric remain, then set aside.

For the watermelon base batch

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Transfer to a sealed container and chill in the fridge for at least three hours.

For the full cocktail

  • Add the watermelon base batch and lime juice to a glass. Add sparkling water. Stir to combine. Serve them up and enjoy!
Keyword alcohol-free, cocktail, watermelon

Leave a Reply