A traditional treat at family picnics, summer get-togethers, and legions of frat parties is an alcohol-spiked watermelon, sometimes called “tipsy watermelon.”
Usually, a melon is spiked with gin or vodka. Noted culinary expert James Beard reported, however, that he’d also encountered recipes calling for watermelon to be spiked with champagne, bourbon, light rum, applejack, or cognac. The amount of liquor used depends on the size of the watermelon and how tipsy people want to be. The general rule: Add as much alcohol as the melon will hold.
To spike a watermelon, first cut a plug (a hole) into the rind. The plug, which will allow a small section of the melon to be pulled out, should be about 2-inches square and as deep as possible. Remove the plug (setting it aside for later) and score the visible flesh deeply with a knife, ice pick, or kebab skewer.
Slowly pour the selected alcohol into the hole until the desired amount has been added or the watermelon won’t hold any more (whichever comes first). Replace the plug and seal it closed with heavy tape.
Refrigerate the watermelon for at least 8 hours, but preferably for 24 hours. Turn the melon four or five times while it’s chilling to help distribute the alcohol evenly throughout. Don’t turn it so the plugged section is upside down; no matter how well you’ve taped the plug, the alcohol is likely to leak out. When thoroughly chilled and fully “marinated,” cut the watermelon into pieces and serve.
Note: If you grow your own watermelon, you can spike it while it’s still growing on the vine. The week before the watermelon’s ripe (this takes some experienced guesswork, of course), cut a plug in the rind as described above and spike the watermelon with your choice of alcohol. Then replug it. As the watermelon continues growing, the alcohol will be distributed throughout the melon. A week later, nature’s done the work and you can eat the spiked watermelon right from the patch or chill it before serving.