How to Make Your Own Fruity, Boozy Bliss

Put the lime in the coconut—and hit it with carbon dioxide!

If the intersection of booze and fruit is a place you’d like to park your lounge chair this summer, alcohol-infused fruit is for you. Sure, by now everyone can spike a whole watermelon with vodka. But we believe you can do better. Here are some more tips from your friendly local Las Vegas bartenders.

The Vacuum Method

A Diageo Reserve Consultant and barbecue professional at Black Tiger BBQ, Gene Samuel suggests, “If you have access to a Cryovac machine, this would be the easiest and least time-consuming way.” Fill a vacuum bag with the desired fruit and add an equal amount of booze to the bag. “After you set it, you will begin to see it ‘boil’ (well, not really) as the pressure forces the booze through the fruit.” The process only takes a few seconds—voila!

The Carbon Dioxide Method

Fill the can of an iSi dessert whipper (isi.com) with equal parts alcohol and fruit—think blackberries and strawberries but also cubed watermelon, kiwi, melon or even jicama. Pass on the citrus. “I find citrus works better the other way (fruit into alcohol) because of its high water content and low porosity,” says Sarah Delgado-Rith, a bartender at The Dorsey in The Venetian. Twist on the cap and charge it with a CO2 cartridge or even two for more staying power. (Samuel: “This is awesome to do with Champagne and grapes!”) This process takes a little longer to get the desired effects, but the fruit should be ready in 35–45 minutes.

The Maceration Method

Using a handheld pit remover, extract the stem and pits from a large package of firm, fresh cherries. In a 2-liter jar, combine cherries with your choice of booze (we suggest brandy, rum or rye whiskey), close tightly and allow to infuse for one to three weeks (“It depends on the weather,” Zuma barman SeongHa Lee says. “In summertime, seven to 10 days, other seasons two to three weeks.”). These are great for keeping in your fridge to toss into cocktails and atop frozen blended drinks.


SeongHa Lee’s Go-To Cherry Infusion Recipes

Old Fashioned Drunk Cherry Mix

  • 1 liter rye whiskey
  • House-made old fashioned syrup (100ml brown sugar, 75ml hot water, 25ml honey, 15ml Fee Brothers Barrel Aged Bitters, 10ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters, 10ml Regan’s Orange Bitters)
  • 1 large pack of fresh cherries, stems and pits removed

Manhattan Drunk Cherry Mix

  • 1 liter rye whiskey
  • 500ml sweet vermouth
  • 15ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • peel of one whole lemon
  • 1 large pack of fresh cherries, stems and pits removed

Mai Tai Drunk Cherry Mix

  • 1 liter white rum
  • 300ml dark rum
  • 250ml orange curaçao
  • 250ml orgeat
  • 5-6 limes, cut in half
  • 20ml Angostura Aromatic Bitters
  • 20 ml Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • 1 large pack of fresh cherries, stems and pits removed

Melon Mixes

Boozy Watermelon

Start with a large ripe watermelon. Cut a circular hole about the size of a golf ball in the top and keep the “cap” as a plug. (Palazzo bartender Wendy Hodges suggests turning it upside down to allow it to drain for an hour.) Send a chopstick or spoon handle down into the watermelon to create channels for the booze, taking care not to poke through the rind in the bottom or sides. Using a funnel (optional), slowly pour your preferred booze (usually vodka, rum or tequila, although Lee likes to use 300ml vodka, 100ml simple syrup, 30ml cucumber bitters and 100ml lemon juice) into the watermelon. You may need to add a cup at a time over the course of an hour or more. Replace the cap and place the watermelon in the refrigerator for 1-3 days. Cut and serve in slices or chunks, or slice in half and use an ice cream scooper to make boozy watermelon “snow cones”.

Fancy Boozy Watermelon (a la BarMagic principal Tobin Ellis)

  1. Break down a watermelon into your favorite shapes (cubes, wedges, etc.)
  2. Put watermelon pieces into a 2-3 gallon container of any kind with a lid.
  3. Put in 2 to 3 or 11 liters of your favorite booze or cocktail, or booze. I strongly recommend an Aperol Negroni and a touch of sea salt. Or Zacapa Rum and the juice of a couple lemons.
  4. Shut the fuckin’ lid/top.
  5. Wait a shitload of days. OK, at least three. Three days.
    • 5b. Play “Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction. Right now.
  1. Eat the fruit; pour out the leftover liquid as shots.
  2. Lick the bowl.
  3. Order pozole, jjambbong, or ramen the next day for the hangover.

Boozy Melon Balls

For a fruit bowl, Hodges takes a melon-baller to honeydew, cantaloupe, pineapple and watermelon. Over this she pours the desired liquor till the balls are covered. Refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally. “The fruit will be tasty and full of booze, and the juice at the bottom of the bowl will make a nice cocktail at the end,” Hodges says. “I suggest using a flavored spirit for this, such as a coconut vodka or maybe passion fruit—something to give a lot of flavor and surprise the senses when you bite into a piece of the fruit expecting one flavor and get another.”

Boozy Watermelon & Cucumbers

Cut a seedless watermelon into cubes. Skin three cucumbers and cut into ½-inch slices. Toss both into a large bowl with lime juice, sugar and blanco tequila. Refrigerate overnight, stirring occasionally. Drain and serve with toothpicks and a small dish of kosher salt. “The version I do for parties is fancier,” says Ashley “Kat” Auer, a bartender at Evel Pie. “I make ‘cups’ out of the cucumber and salt the rims, and I add basil to the infusion mixture.”

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