Watermelon Coolers


Not every gelatin is meant to be completely firm. Halfway between a drink and a dessert, these loose-set watermelon treats include chunks of the fruit. If you like, top them with cubes of rose hip-hibiscus gelee flavored with fresh mint and basil. The bracing results combine seasonality and different textures sure to tempt any palate.


  • 8 cups ¾-inch seedless watermelon cubes (from ½ small watermelon, rind removed), plus more for garnish

  • Scant 2 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (one 1/4-ounce envelope)

  • ¼ cup cold water

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

  • Rose Hip-Hibiscus "Ice Cubes"(optional)

  • Mint or basil sprigs, for garnish


  1. Puree watermelon cubes in a blender or food processor until smooth. Press through a fine sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. Measure 3 cups strained juice.

  2. Prepare an ice-water bath. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water, and let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Bring 1/2 cup watermelon juice and salt to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve. Strain into a bowl set in ice water bath. Stir in remaining 2 1/2 cups watermelon juice and the lemon juice.

  3. Let stand, stirring often, until just beginning to gel, 15 to 20 minutes. Divide among 4 glasses. Garnish with watermelon cubes. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Top with rose hip-hibiscus "ice cubes" if desired, and garnish with mint or basil sprigs.

Cook's Notes

Taste the watermelon; if it's not sweet enough, add sugar to the juice.

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