This Watermelon Bloody Mary is “the perfect balance of spicy and sweet,” says the National Watermelon Promotion Board, which developed the recipe.
“Don’t let the fish sauce deter you—it gives this drink just the right kick.”
If you don’t have fish sauce, a key condiment in Asian countries, substitute Worcestershire sauce*, which itself is a British variation on Asian fish sauce—it contains anchovies (the history of Worcestershire sauce).
See the different types of fish sauce below.
While adding watermelon to a Bloody Mary is fun in and of itself, the real fun in this recipe is that there are enough garnishes to make a Happy Hour snack. You may want to serve the drink atop a small plate.
Ingredients For 2 Drinks
Make the garnishes as plentiful as you like
1. ASSEMBLE the garnishes on bamboo skewers. Set aside.
2. COMBINE the watermelon cubes and jalapeño in a blender. Blend until completely smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve set over a pitcher.
3. ADD the tomato juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, fish sauce, horseradish and hot sauce to the pitcher, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add the vodka and stir.
4. LINE the rims of 2 glasses with lime juice from one of the lime wedges. Pour the chili lime salt onto a plate and twist the rims in it to coat. Carefully place ice in the glasses and pour in the Bloody Mary.
There are many types of fish sauce. Each country that makes them uses different fish, different seasonings, different levels of saltiness, and different production techniques; all are fermented.
Fish sauces, which we now consider to be adopted from Southeast Asian cuisines, were widely used in ancient Mediterranean cuisines. The earliest recorded production was between the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.E., by the Ancient Greeks [source].
Nearly every Roman recipe used garum, a fermented fish sauce and universal condiment that was used as enthusiastically as Americans use ketchup.
In fact, the first known recipe for “ketchup” in English was for a fish sauce. The condiment was spelled as “kachop,” a transliteration of the Asian fish sauce after which it was fashioned.
The recipe was published in 1727 by Eliza Smith in “Compleat Housewife; or, Accomplished Gentlewoman’s Companion.” (You can still buy a copy.
The first known mention of fish sauce from Asia is from China, 2300 years ago [source] (note that “mention” is just the earliest documented use of the word; the actual product may have existed decades or even centuries earlier).
Since the “umami revolution,” fish sauce, which imparts a savory umami flavor to dishes, has been embraced globally by chefs and home cooks.
The umami flavor comes from the glutamates that are created by fermentation.
Some examples of fish sauces:
*Vegan substitutes for fish sauce include coconut aminos, mushroom and soy sauce broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, tamari and vegan fish sauce [source].
†For less heat, also remove the seeds and ribs (photo #4).
‡We used Tajin Seasoning. You can make your own chili lime salt in 10 minutes by combining: 1 cup coarse sea salt, 1/4 cup lime zest (6 large limes) and 2 tablespoons chili powder. Combine thoroughly, and use immediately.