Boozy Watermelon Granita

This year has been one of the busiest for my family of three. All of  us began new chapters in life. I finished a significant portion of my education, mom has moved on to running a business, and dad switched companies after being in one for 25 years. So, it’s safe to say that all of us are going through our own respective quarter and mid life crises (though the mid-lifers fail to agree that such a phenomenon is hitting them). 

I am a ball of questions. Whether its about what to do next, or if what I am doing now is enough, how can I be busier, why am I writing a blog, even am I living my best life? Although, I think of these things constantly, for the most part they are still rhetorical, like thinking about space or life after death— you might find an answer but you may never be too happy by the answer. Anyway, I digress. Since we have been so busy, I find pockets of time to chill with my parents. With my mom, that’s at her gym or late at night when she’s eating dinner on my bed and with dad its during breakfast, or Saturday night dates where we go for movies or make alcohol infused hookahs or spend all his performance bonus to buy a KitchenAid diamond blade mixer to make margaritas (all true dates). 


However, there used to be instances when I was a child where we spent a lot of time together. One of my favorite things about the summer was watching TV after dinner. I remember sitting on a sofa watching old VHS reruns of Small Wonder, eating fresh watermelon that we would keep in the freezer before dinner. The fruit would be cold, crisp, and resplendent with flavor. Mom, not a fan of too much sweet, would add rock salt to the watermelon to reduce its sweetness and add a depth profile that kind pushed the fruit to linger in your mouth for a lot longer. 

I started making this granita not by thinking about this fond memory but just of creating a quick, easy, dessert with tropical fruit. It was the process of continuously scraping and slowly freezing ice and the constant taste testing that reminded me of continuously opening the fridge and sneaking a piece of watermelon out as dinner was getting ready. The added rock salt was also more to do with my familiarity with the taste than something that I explicitly thought about. As I tasted the granita with every bi-hourly scraping, I would realize the increasing sweetness of the simple syrup overpowering the fruit. And it was that realization that made me want to add the rock salt. I made two versions of the dish, one with a large shot of orange liqueur and one without. Since textures of something like a granita all depend on the quality of the water and the freezing process, it firstly took me double the time because of the immense heat (apparently refrigerators don’t like Delhi summers) and second, the ones without the booze were a lot more crystalline. Maybe I didn’t fork them enough but it didn’t have the softness of snow. The boozy one, while took a whole day to freeze properly, came out perfect. I forked them once every hour for four hours and then let them be in the fridge overnight. The granita came out soft with the perfect balance of watermelon and bitter orange from the booze that almost never freezes but gets soaked into the snow. I topped the dish with some rock salt and a fresh basil leaf from our kitchen garden.

Now that I’m back home from my trip to beautiful Greece, I look forward to more summer recipes and spending more together times with the tiny family eating. 


Glimpses from the week




3 cups of watermelon cubed with the rind removed (preferably seedless) 

1/4 cup of simple syrup (heat down equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is all dissolved) 

60 ml orange liqueur (like cointreau) 

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice 

Rock salt as a garnish (optional) 


Step 1 

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Strain through a wet double lined cheesecloth to remove the seeds. 

Step 2 

Add the juice into a flat baking sheet with walls. The juice should only cover an inch of the pan. 

Step 3

Place in a freezer. Scrape the ice every hour for 4 hours until frozen perfectly.