whole food ~ well made

Watermelon granita cocktail recipe at

In the Mood for a Cocktail or Dessert? With Granita, You Get Both

Listen, it’s time to give your blender a break from smoothies. All that frozen fruit and leafy greens, not to mention the nut butters and chia seeds…

We’ve practically forgotten all of the amazing things a blender can do. Like how it can take an ordinary watermelon and whir it into a frozen dessert {with some time in the freezer, of course} in seconds.

Granita is the Easiest Homemade Frozen Treat

I’m talking about granita. It’s just pureed fruit sweetened and flavored to your liking. It’s then frozen and chopped or shaved.

Watermelon granita cocktail recipe at

So, if we’re keeping track of granita advantages, here are three:

A. You can make a granita with any type of fruit or fruit juice.

B. It takes about 10 minutes of active time and about 5 hours in the freezer.

C. There’s zero cooking {heating elements of any kind} involved.

But here’s the big plus: If you love frozen desserts but haven’t made them at home, a granita is a terrific place to start.

Unlike homemade sorbet or gelato, you don’t have to worry about the sugar concentration {called density and measured with a hydrometer for complete accuracy}.

Watermelon granita cocktail recipe at

Sugar density plays a big role in the formation of crystals. So, for the smoothest sorbets, you want to make sure the sugar concentration is spot on.

Not so for granita, which is supposed to be icy. We want any and all crystals in this frozen dessert. The more, the better.

A Better Way to Make Granita

About granita being mostly hands off. There’s really no need to scrape the granita mixture with a fork every half hour or so to make it, as a lot of recipes instruct.

All you do is catch it before it’s frozen solid and chop, chop, chop.

Watermelon granita cocktail recipe at

I learned the pro tip to use a dough knife (aka, bench scraper, pastry blade} instead of a fork, so you can cut straight down into the pan and chop away..

Here’s my favorite part about granita:

D. You can turn it into a session cocktail with a few additions.

One Granita Recipe, Two Cocktails

For this recipe, I added Aperol. Not only because I had some on hand but because I love adding a hint of bitterness and complexity to one of our favorite summer fruits. {Campari is terrific with watermelon, too.}

Watermelon granita cocktail recipe at

That’s the session cocktail version to eat with a spoon. Low in alcohol, high in flavor and refreshment value.

Or, you can take it up a notch for a full-fledged cocktail you won’t be able to put down. Just dish up the granita in a tall glass, add 1 ounce each of gin {I love gin, but you vodka drinkers can certainly use that instead} and soda water.

You know how refreshing chilled cubes of watermelon taste? Well, this takes cold watermelon to another stratosphere. And it makes a big batch for sharing {or having more than one}.

So pick up a watermelon, call up some friends and get ready to toast with a cooling treat for grown ups.

What’s your favorite summer beverage? Let me know what you’re making in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.


and become a forager

Watermelon granita cocktail recipe at

Watermelon Granita Cocktail

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: watermelon granita cocktail
Prep Time: 10 minutes
freezing time: 5 hours
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Author: Lynne Curry

Cold watermelon on a hot day is good, but frozen is even better. This recipe makes either a session granita cocktail, or, with the addition of gin and soda a full-fledged happy hour slurpee for grownups is adapted from a non-frozen cocktail recipe from Saveur. Either way, the process for making granita takes just four ingredients, a blender and is mostly hands-off.


For watermelon granita:

  • 10 cups (3 pounds) ripe, seedless watermelon, cubed and seeded
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) simple syrup see Recipe Notes
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces Aperol
  • 3 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) lime juice
  • pinch fine sea salt

For individual cocktails:

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce soda water


  1. Combine the watermelon, simply syrup, Aperol, lime juice and salt in a blender. Puree until very smooth. Taste the mixture and adjust for sweetness by adding more simple syrup or for tartness by adding more lime juice. The flavors will be more muted when frozen, so be sure that the mixture is extremely tasty.

  2. Pour into an 11x17 rimmed baking sheet and skim off any seeds. Freeze for about 4 hours, or until the mixture is nearly completely frozen. Use a bench knife (aka, dough scraper, pastry blade) to chop the mixture into rough chunks. Rotate the pan and continue chopping until the crystals are broken up finely.

  3. Return to the freezer for at least one hour, chopping once again, or until ready to serve. (The granita can be made up to 2 days in advance.) 

  4. Bring to room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving. Spoon into serving glasses or dishes and enjoy the granita as is.

  5. To make cocktails. spoon the granita into tall glasses. Add the gin and soda, stir and serve with a lime wedge.

Recipe Notes

To make a simple syrup: combine equal parts water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan (1 cup water to 1 cup sugar, for example). Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool to room temperature before using and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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