It’s summer, and it’s time to celebrate that fact. Pool parties and barbecues are some of the best ways to mark the warmer months and relish in the tanning weather with your friends and family. I mean really, who doesn’t love a warm afternoon filled with relaxing by the pool, eating delicious food and sipping a fantastic cocktail? Sounds like a perfect way to spend the season to me, and if you’re into hosting and want to take your bar to the next level — you need a watermelon keg.
That’s right, I said it — a keg made out of watermelon is one of the most festive ways to serve your cocktails to your guests and use up that stiff, strong outer shell of summer’s favorite fruit in an efficient way. Making a watermelon keg comes with a few extra steps, but trust us when we say that you want to up level from a standard keg and take the plunge. Your guests will love it, and afterwards you won’t have a large vessel to clean out or lug back to the store.
Here’s how to make a watermelon keg, your trusty party sidekick for throwing the best summer bashes.
Step 1: Pick Your Watermelon
The size of your desired keg will somewhat depend on the number of drinks you’ll be serving and the number of guests attending your shindig, but most likely you’ll want a larger one. Make sure it’s at least a foot long and weighs about 20 pounds. This will ensure it’s got enough room on the inside to accommodate the amount of liquid you’ll be pouring in, and remain sturdy throughout your event.
2. Cut a Sliver Off the Bottom
You want your watermelon to be able to stand up sturdily on its own, and in order to do this you’ll need to cut a sliver off of the bottom. Don’t cut into the meat too much, but just enough to give the melon structure without poking a hole in the main part of the vessel.
You typically don’t need to cut very much because there’s already an end that the watermelon will naturally stand on. Rather than leaving it like that, give it a little extra stability by taking off a little piece of the end. Avoid hitting the pink and the white in this process. You can find a great visual for this step at about the 0:19 timestamp of the following video.
3. Cut the Top Off
This step is going to feel very similar to cutting the top off of a pumpkin when you’re getting ready to carve it. Cut in a circle around the stem on the top, as symmetrically as you can, not going too far down the sides. The pink meat of the watermelon should be showing and you should have a clear opening with which to scoop out the insides. You can find another great visual at this step at about the 0:30 timestamp of the following video.
4. Hollow It Out
Using an ice cream scooper, melon baller or large dinner spoon hollow out the melon leaving about an inch of pink left on the sides for your keg insulation. You don’t want to cut away too much of the meat, since you’ll need it to hold in a bunch of liquid, but you want to create space at the same time.
You also want your beverage of choice to pick up the sweet juices of the watermelon as opposed to the bitter white layer, so make sure there’s enough watermelon substance in there to pick up while your drink sits.
OXO Good Grips Double-Sided Melon Baller
This melon baller from OXO is double-sided with two different sized scoops depending on what your balling needs of the moment are. It’s made of durable stainless steel and has a comfortable, non-slip handle. The scoops are sharp enough to cut through fruit and vegetables easily while also being safe to touch, and the whole tool is dishwasher safe so cleaning is a breeze.
5. Insert the Keg Piece
For the keg piece, you’ll want to find a pretty side of the watermelon (there’s always a less-pretty one) and insert it there. You want to pick a spot low on the melon so you can maximize the amount of juice the spout has access to. I would go as low as you can go before the melon rounds out towards the bottom.
Use a knife, drill or the keg piece itself to poke a hole through the melon all the way to the middle. If you’re using a drill, please be sure to use safety goggles just in case. Wiggle the keg part in there, making sure it’s secure and the fit is snug in the process. Then, there’s typically a screw part that attaches on the back, so many sure to install that as well to ensure a tight fit for the length of your party and then some.
Party on Tap Watermelon Tap Kit
This kit has everything you need to make a watermelon keg — including the keg spout itself, a coring kit for removing the insides, themed straws and instructions. All of the pieces are easy to use and wash afterwards so even though the watermelon itself will change, these tools will remain built to last.
Unido Box Watermelon DIY Keg Kit
Another watermelon keg kit option, this one has a coring tool as well as a large, sturdy beverage dispenser for inserting into your trusty party melon steed. This kit also comes with an instruction manual for guiding you through the process of using this particular tool more in-depth. The tools are made of stainless steel and plastic, are easy to clean and easy to use.
6. Mix Your Beverage
Before you get overwhelmed with the amount of balled melon you now have in your possession — rest assured that it’s very easy to mix up a delicious watermelon-themed cocktail with the fruit. You can make a watermelon margarita, watermelon mojito or other delicious fruity cocktails with your watermelon before dumping the mixture back into the keg itself. Here are a few recipes to consider trying.
- Blend up your watermelon, straining the pulp and seeds out is optional
- Measure the number of cups of watermelon juice you’ve got, and add the following ingredients according to these ratios
- 1 1/4 cups of watermelon juice
- 2 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 2 1/2 ounces of tequila
- After that, line cups with salt on the rims for your guests to enjoy from
Casamigos is a high-quality tequila made for mixing in to make a great margarita. It’s owned and personally endorsed by one of Hollywood’s greatest stars — George Clooney, and has the flavor to back it up. After being distilled for a minimum of two months, this fermented mix becomes a sensation of sweet agave, citrus and vanilla ready to be enjoyed. It can be enjoyed as a cold shot or mixed into your favorite cocktail.
Another great summer cocktail recipe is the watermelon mojito. It’s got a few more ingredients than the margarita, but we promise it’s worth a try during these warmer months. The following recipe follows the proportions with two cups of watermelon purée, multiply and increase your amounts using the following proportions depending on how much of the watermelon mixture you end up with.
- Prepare mint simple syrup
- Combine 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and a handful of fresh mint leaves in a small saucepan. Bring them all to a boil and wait until all of the sugar has dissolved before removing from the heat and chilling.
- Combine one cup of rum, 2/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice and about 2/3 of a cup of the mint simple syrup with two cups of the watermelon purée in a large pitcher.
- Serve in ice-filled glasses with lime slices and fresh sprigs of mint as a garnish
BACARDÍ Superior White Rum
Need a tasty white rum to mix into the dish above? Bacardi Superior is a flagship rum that dates all the way back to 1862. It’s got a light taste that blends well with other ingredients and isn’t overly dominant in a cocktail. It won’t overwhelm you with the taste of alcohol, but will provide the kick you’re looking for. It’s got delightful undertones of citrus, ginger and coriander, and is made with high-quality sugars and yeasts only found in the Caribbean.