With an Independence Day celebration on the horizon, I decided to get cute and crafty. This is not something I do often…so I have to bolster myself for the challenge, preferably with a nice libation. So this project worked out well for me, as it became the container for a very refreshing Watermelon Cooler!
There are lots of photos and notes below, plus a very delicious recipe, check it out and get your cute on for the 4th of July! It takes a little time and some planning (you’ll need hardware), but your friends and family will be super impressed. I will be too – so send me your watermelon keg photos!
by Jane Nachbor
- 2 Lovin’ Lemon SlushTM Drink Mix Mini Buckets
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 1 ½ cups watermelon rum
- Juice of 1 lime
- 4 cups watermelon juice (see instructions below)
Note: If you are using this recipe to fill a large watermelon keg, you will need to double the recipe if you want a full keg.
Combine Lovin’ Lemon Slush Drink Mix with warm water and rum; stir until dissolved. Place in freezer for at least 1 hour. Place fresh watermelon cubes and any juice from a fresh watermelon in a blender – puree. Strain. Add 4 cups watermelon juice to the bucket. Serve over ice or freeze for a slush.
- 1 large watermelon
- Spigot or tap, with a shank or extender and a nut for the extender
Note: You can order a package deal online, or visit your local hardware store. There are lots of options there.
Step-by-step instructions – follow along with the photos.
Step 1 If the melon won’t stand independently, shave a very thin piece off the bottom. You don’t want to see any pink! If you cut too deep…as I did (see photo) your keg may leak.
Step 2 Cut a hole in the top, jack-o-lantern style. Have it tilted toward the back though – you don’t really want to see the “cap” from the front of your keg. It should be just big enough to get your hand through.
Step 3 Scoop out all of the melon, remove seeds and place it in a blender. You may need to do this in batches. Dump in any of the liquid from inside the watermelon.
Step 4 Strain the pureed watermelon; discard the pulp. The straining is important…if the resulting juice/puree is too chunky, it will clog the tap in the keg. Use the strained juice to complete the Watermelon Cooler recipe, above.
Step 5 Cut a hole towards the bottom of the watermelon for the tap. If you cut it too high, you won’t be able to get the punch out of the keg towards the bottom. Cut the hole slightly smaller than the diameter of the shank on your tap. It’s important not to cut the hole too big, or your keg will leak…too small and you could crack the keg while inserting the shank. It has to be juuuuuust right. :) I used a vegetable peeler, because it had a sharp, curved edge. You could use an apple corer, a grapefruit knife or a small paring knife.
Step 6 Screw the shank into the tap; insert the shank through the hole; screw the nut onto the back of the shank (inside the watermelon). This part wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be…yay!
Step 7 Place the watermelon on a plate or footed cake plate.
Step 8 Add your beverage. Frozen slush may clog the tap at first…until it melts enough to go through. I used chilled (not frozen) Watermelon Cooler (recipe above) and served it over crushed ice. Delish!!
Step 9 Add fresh flowers to decorate your keg. I poked holes into the watermelon with a bamboo skewer, then poked the flower stems through.
Additional Testing Notes:
- This was not a difficult project, but it did take about an hour and 15 minutes, once we had all of our materials assembled.
- I say “we” because my dear husband helped. While it was nice to have a partner, I do think you could easily complete the project without a helper.
- If you have a carpeted kitchen – serve your Watermelon Cooler in a pitcher, not a watermelon keg! Holy cats…I thought I was being careful and neat, but by the time I was done, I had watermelon juice on every conceivable surface in my kitchen. And the floor! Gracious…I felt like I was walking on a Velcro floor with Velcro shoes…
- The Watermelon Cooler recipe exceeded my expectations – it was the first time I tried watermelon flavored rum – fantastic! And my husband loved it too. Neither of us are very fond of watermelon flavoring, but I think the addition of the strained watermelon juice and the lime juice really made it tasty. Give it a try!