Pair this plentiful local fruit with liquor to make a classic Maryland cocktail—the Crush.

The Fourth of July is time for food, fun, and friends, unfortunately, the coronavirus is going to put a damper on the fun. Even if you’re staying at home, you can enjoy all those traditional foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, Maryland sweet corn on the cob, and the big favorite—watermelon. Produced in farms all over the state, the fresh-picked melons are easy to find at farmers’ markets and grocery stores all over. 

When you’re shopping for a watermelon, there are three ways to make sure you get a good one.

  • First, look for a firm, symmetrical melon where the rind is in good shape.
  • The melon should be heavy for its size, remember watermelons are 90 percent water.
  • Finally, choose one that has a yellow spot from where it sat on the ground in the watermelon patch.

There are many ways to enjoy watermelon. Cut it up into cubes, add some feta and basil, and make a fresh summer salad, or add your favorite liquor to make a refreshing cocktail.

Here are two watermelon cocktail recipes—one for the adults and one for the kids that are sure to please. Just to make things easy, both recipes can be made with a simple muddler—no blender or electricity required!

watermelon crush cocktail

Courtesy United States Bartender’s Guild

Watermelon Crush

Created by Pamela Wiznitzer, President of the United States Bartender’s Guild in New York

  • 2 ounces Ménage à Trois Vodka, chilled
  • 3-4 pieces watermelon, rind removed
  • ½ ounce hibiscus syrup (see below)
  • ¾ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce coconut water

Muddle watermelon and add syrup, lime juice, and coconut water. Pour into a cocktail shaker along with a 1/2 cup of ice. Shake well and strain into a highball filled with ice. If the consistency is too thick, add a little more coconut water. Garnish with a thin watermelon slice.

To make hibiscus syrup, take two hibiscus tea bags and submerge in 1/2 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and then combine the tea with 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring mixture to a simmer (not a boil) in a saucepan. Simmer until sugar is dissolved and remove from heat. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Lime Watermelon Cocktail

  • Watermelon, cut into cubes
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce agave syrup
  • 4 ounces sparkling water
  • lime wedge garnish

Put four to five watermelon cubes in a glass and muddle well. Put muddled watermelon in a cocktail shaker and add lime juice, agave syrup, ice, and shake well. Strain into a rocks glass filled halfway with ice and add up to four ounces of sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge.

*If you want to make this one into an adult cocktail, just add an ounce and a half of your favorite tequila!

To find a fresh watermelon near you, visit the Maryland’s Best website and enter “watermelon” and your location. The site will give you a list of farms and farmers’ markets where you can find locally grown watermelon.