It wasn’t until I moved to Atlanta that I learned what a little pinch of salt can do to watermelon. Just a pinch of flaky sea salt on a cold, thick slice can bring out the sweetness of the fruit while giving it a sour edge.
Fortunately, this combination of ingredients has made its way into bar cocktails, spirits and ready-to-drink beverages in recent years. Now, the classic watermelon flavor we know as borderline artificial has been replaced with salted watermelon, a more balanced and refreshing option for those sweltering summer months.
“My mom used to put it on the watermelon when we ate it in the summer,” says Kyle Sherrer, co-founder of North Hudson Cider, who grew up in Maryland and reveled in the summer treat. “It was a good connection there with my past.”
This is the second year that Hudson North has brought back its limited edition salted watermelon flavored hard cider. The flavor was inspired by this classic snack, and Sherrer had seen how the salt intensifies the fruitiness in his other cider flavors. “It works great with watermelon because it pushes the fruit forward and makes you salivate a bit, so perfect for the season,” he says.
Salted watermelon is also a great flavor addition for spirits. At the bar in New York Somewhere in Nolita, the Heat Map cocktail combines mezcal, salted watermelon, basil and Calabrian chili. The brand of spirits Smoked Olebased in Tennessee, went a step further and created a salted watermelon flavored whiskey.
“With 5.7 million people passing through our combined distilleries last year, we have a unique ability to try different things and push the boundaries, so we’re constantly thinking and coming up with new ideas. flavors,” said Will Ensign, Vice President of Ole Smoky. of marketing. The flavor was first introduced in 2017 and was an instant hit at the distillery’s tasting bar—some reviews described it as a “liquid Jolly Rancher”.
The appeal of watermelon and sea salt together was impossible for Luna Bay Boot co-founder Bridget Connelly. The hard kombucha brand has had other exciting fruit combinations – lychee lime and blueberry basil, for example – but this summer the company wanted to try something that would be great in cocktails.
It’s actually impossible to resist the resulting watermelon sea salt hard kombucha, from its splashy watermelon-adorned box to the balanced kombucha flavor inside. “It’s our best flavor yet,” says Connelly. “We had to make additional batches.” Drink it straight from the can or make a cocktail using kombucha, tequila, simple syrup, and sparkling water (don’t forget a Tajin rim, too).
It’s more than the good taste of salted watermelon for Connelly. She grew up in Wisconsin where they spent their summers by the lakes. “Watermelon is what we eat on the docks, whether it’s salted watermelon popsicles or just on the table at Wednesday night potlucks,” she says. “So when I think of this flavor, I think of summer, community and joy.”