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Watermelon Bloody Mary Bar

Celebrate summer with this show-stopping Bloody Mary bar. Watermelons of all sizes are turned into garnish bowls in addition to flavoring the traditional cocktail with a watermelon twist.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 7 hr 15 min (includes chilling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 15 min
  • Yield: 48 servings
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Ingredients

Cooler Bowls:

One 18- to 20-pound seedless watermelon

Garnish Bowls:

Three 3- to 5-pound seedless watermelons

Bloody Mary Mixer:

One 18- to 20-pound seedless watermelon

2/3 cup prepared horseradish 

2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce 

1/3 cup hot sauce 

2 1/2 tablespoons celery salt 

Kosher salt 

Two 64-ounce bottles tomato juice, chilled 

One 750-milliliter bottle tequila, chilled 

One 750-milliliter bottle vodka, chilled 

Garnish suggestions: crisp bacon, beef jerky, carrot sticks, celery sticks, lemon wedges, pickled green beans, pickled okra, cornichons, Colby Jack cubes  

Directions

Special equipment:
a ratcheting pineapple corer
  1. For the cooler bowls: Set the watermelon on its side (stem end facing left or right) and cut the watermelon in half crosswise, resulting in two tall halves. Cut off a small flat piece of rind from the bottom of each half so the watermelon is stable, then stand each half flesh-side up. Use a ratcheting pineapple corer to remove the central flesh from each half; the remaining flesh will help the liquor bottles fit snugly. (Reserve the cored flesh for another use.) Use a paring knife to make zigzag cuts around the edges of the watermelon bowls. Freeze each watermelon half until solid, 6 hours or up to overnight.
  2. For the garnish bowls: Set a watermelon on its side (stem end facing left or right) and cut the watermelon in half crosswise. Cut off a small flat piece of rind from the bottom of each half so the watermelon is stable. 
  3. Insert an immersion blender into the flesh. Gently push and move the immersion blender down and around in the watermelon to puree the center. As more of the watermelon becomes pureed, move the blender to the sides to puree almost all of the flesh, leaving a thin wall of flesh lining the rind. Strain the juice into a large bowl. Repeat the process with the remaining watermelons. Reserve the strained juice. 
  4. Use a paring knife to make zigzag cuts around the edges of the watermelon bowls. Pat the watermelon bowls dry with paper towels and set aside.  
  5. For the Bloody Mary mixer: Set the remaining 20-pound watermelon on its side (stem end facing left or right) and cut off a small flat piece of rind from the bottom so that the watermelon is stable lying on its side. Cut off a 4-inch slice from the top, exposing the flesh.  
  6. Transfer the watermelon to the sink (to avoid splashes). Insert an immersion blender into the flesh. Gently push and move the immersion blender down and around in the watermelon to puree the center. As more of the watermelon becomes pureed, move the blender to the sides to puree almost all of the flesh, leaving a thin wall of flesh lining the rind. Strain the pureed juice out of the watermelon into the bowl with the reserved strained watermelon juice. Use a paring knife to make zigzag cuts around the edge of the watermelon.  
  7. Add 16 cups of the watermelon juice to a large pitcher or bowl. Add the horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt and 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and mix to combine. 
  8. Add 1 bottle of tomato juice and 8 cups of the watermelon mixture to the hollowed watermelon. Chill the remaining watermelon mixture in the fridge. 
  9. Insert the liquor bottles into the frozen cored watermelons. Fill the small watermelon bowls with your favorite garnishes. Top up the hollowed watermelon with the reserved Bloody Mary mixture and remaining bottle of tomato juice when needed. 
  10. To serve, fill a glass with ice cubes. Add equal amounts liquor of choice and Bloody Mary Mixer. Top with your favorite garnishes.