A Watermelon Margarita with plenty of fresh lime juice and a nice piece of sweet-and-tart candied lime peel to balance things out.
Another week, another watermelon cocktail. This watermelon margarita recipe is one my sister helped me refine. I knew I wanted to use watermelon again, but the candied citrus peel was her idea.
The candied peel is based on Paul Grimes' recipe for candied tangerine peel. In fact, it's exactly that, but with lime. I like his method, because you don't need a candy thermometer to get it right. I don't have a candy thermometer.
If you're planning this watermelon margarita recipe for a shindig, definitely make the candied lime peel the night before. In fact, you can make it up to two days ahead. Grimes says to store in an airtight container on the counter.
The recipe below is for candying enough lime peel to make about four watermelon margaritas. Feel free to multiply this recipe, if you want to make more!
Watermelon Margarita with Candied Lime Peel
For the Candies Lime Peel
- 1 1/3 cups vegan white sugar - divided
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Watermelon Margarita
- 2 cups watermelon pieces
- 2 fresh limes - juiced
- 4 tablespoons Candied Lime Peel Syrup - divided
- 6 ounces white tequila - divided
- 2 ounces orange liqueur - divided
- Candied Lime Peel - for garnish
Make the Candied Lime Peel
- Scrub your lime well, then use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel in large strips – as large as you can manage. A little bit of the white part (the pith) is okay. Watch your fingers while you’re doing this!
- Combine the peel and enough water to cover in the smallest pan you have (not the 1/2 cup water – that’s for later). Bring to a boil, and drain. Do this again. Then, do one more time. That’s 3 blanchings total, if you’re keeping track
- Combine the 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and blanched lime peels in that same small pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.
- Use a fork to move the peels to a drying rack placed over a plate lined with parchment or wax paper. Try to space them out, so they’re not touching – they are very sticky and will stick to each other.
- Let the peels cool for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the leftover Candied Lime Peel Syrup from the pan into a small, heat-proof container. You will be using it in the watermelon margarita recipe!
- Use a fork to toss the candied peels, one at a time, with the 1/3 cup sugar, then move them to the same drying rack, and let them dry for about another half hour.
- Once they’re totally dry, you’re ready to store them or use them right away in the watermelon margarita recipe!
Make the Watermelon Margarita
- Combine the watermelon, lime juice, and lime syrup in your blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, then strain into 4 rocks glasses.
- Add 1 1/2 ounces of tequila to each glass and 1/2 ounce orange liqueur to each glass. Stir to combine.
- Top your glasses off with ice, and garnish with candied lime peel.