One big trend for summer drinking in Dallas has been the incorporation of watermelon as a flavor.
Watermelon is a perennial summer classic for sure, but in 2022, it seems like everyone's doing some kind of watermelon cocktail, from high-end bars to good old Taco Cabana.
What's especially refreshing about this crop of cocktails is that most are using fresh fruit.
"Watermelon is the essence of summer, and it gives a drink a nice sweet balance," says Hilary Guardipee, a manager at Yard House at Toyota Music Factory in Las Colinas, whose menu includes a margarita with watermelon puree. "Watermelon also contains a lot of water, so it's automatically very thirst-quenching."
Here's where watermelon is showing up in cocktails and drinks around Dallas:
Tex-Mex chain recently introduced three fruity new drinks for summer which include a Pineapple Mojito Sangria and a Passion Fruit Piña Colada — but the one we're here to honor today is the Watermelon Mojito, made with watermelon Red Bull, rum, lime juice, and syrup, with a fresh watermelon garnish by request. Gotta love their idea of "summer": These drinks run through October 3. The mojito joins another permanent watermelon cocktail on their menu: the Tajín Watermelon, a fancied-up margarita with tequila, blood orange liqueur, triple sec, Monin cucumber, jalapeño, agave nectar, muddled watermelon, lime juice, and Tajín.
This one's non-alcoholic but no less refreshing: The rotisserie chicken chain has brought back a summertime favorite: watermelon-flavored iced tea, adding a fruity alternative to their popular house-made lemonade. They're also offering slices of watermelon as a side dish. Both are available through Labor Day.
The shuffleboard spot in Deep Ellum recently launched a new happy hour featuring $7 cocktails and among those is a new Frozen Watermelon Margarita with watermelon juice and lime. They also do a watermelon version of a mojito called a Watermelon Sugar Mojito, with rum, watermelon juice, mint, lime, and soda.
The Deep Ellum location of this open-air tequila and taco concept from Chicago is centered around drinks, tacos, and an urban vibe with an outdoor patio. They're known for their variety of margaritas, both frozen and classic, and those include a spicy watermelon margarita featuring agave, chile liqueur, lime juice, and fresh watermelon juice, with a spicy habanero salt on the rim.
Leela's Wine Bar
This elegant bar with two locations, including the original on Greenville Avenue plus one in Trophy Club, plus a third coming soon to the McKinney & Olive building in Uptown Dallas, features the Hope St. cocktail on their menu with cucumber-infused Lunazul tequila, Combier watermelon liqueur, lime, soda, and tajín. No fresh watermelon, but they say that the cucumber-infused tequila gives the drink a crisp freshness.
Mi Dia from Scratch
Local authentic Mexican restaurant chain with locations in Grapevine, Plano, and Flower Mound does a regular Margarita of the Month, and the one for July is right on point: It's a Watermelon Margarita, featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Teremana Tequila, fresh watermelon, Elderflower, lime, and sweet agave nectar. "The way we get the best flavor is to blend fresh watermelon and strain it into a glass, then use that intense watermelon juice to flavor the drink," a spokesperson says.
Pappas Delta Blues Smokehouse
Plano BBQ restaurant has a new cocktail of the month, created by the experts behind the beverage program at the acclaimed Pappas Restaurants. The Smoky Watermelon Rita combines Blanco tequila and Montelobos Espadín mezcal to create a smoky flavor profile that is then fused with fresh watermelon and lime juices, mint, and chile salt, for a bright yet bold summer cocktail, festooned with a watermelon wedge.
Fast-food Mexican chain is featuring a Watermelon Margarita at all Texas locations through July 31. The drink is kind of a swirl with a frozen core and a watermelon-ish liquid floating about. There's only a remote resemblance to actual watermelon but for $4, it's easy enough to choke down. Maybe mix it with their other summer flavor, Cherry.
California-based sports bar chain is known for having good food and loads of beers on tap, but also has cocktails including a signature salted watermelon margarita. The watermelon appears in a light puree that gives the drink flavor and a little body. It contains tequila, Cointreau, citrus agave, watermelon purée, and lime. They should really just call it a "watermelon margarita," no "salted," since the only salted element is the salt rim, making it no more "salted" than any other margarita.