Wine and Spirits

Frozen Watermelon Cooler

A drink from Oxford, Mississippi's Saint Leo bar.

JOSEPH STINCHCOMB, head bartender at Saint Leo in Oxford, Mississippi, thinks that blended cocktails get a bad rap. But he understands why: “You think of those terrible daiquiri shops. You had them in college towns, where they just serve a bunch of high-proof alcohol and a bunch of sugar,” he says. His Frozen Watermelon Cooler makes up for the faults of these blended drinks by using real fruit and balancing it with mezcal and Campari. Smoke, fruit, and bitter impart a complexity to this cocktail that most frozen drinks lack.

Please share them with friends, and don't be ashamed if you have two of them.

Stinchcomb’s recipe was inspired by a trip to the local farmers’ market down the street. “I picked up a watermelon from a local purveyor here and had some tequila. I was like, Let's make a frozen, blended drink with watermelon and a little bit of mezcal, some Campari, because a little bitterness helps with some of the sweetness you get from watermelon.”

The Frozen Watermelon Cooler was inspired by an “ungodly hot” Mississippi summer. Despite the heat, the Mississippi town of nearly 30,000 is a five-hour drive from Atlanta and New Orleans, and just over an hour from Memphis, making it a perfect home base. Stinchcomb first moved to Mississippi to attend Ole Miss but stuck around after graduation. “It's so vibrant, and ever changing.” he says.

“The recipe is very forgiving. If you make too much, that's completely fine.” Blended cocktails are perfect for batch preparation, he says. “So please share them with friends, and don't be ashamed if you have two of them.” Serve it in a chilled coup glass — no red Solo cups necessary.


Frozen watermelon cooler


  • 1 ½ oz tequila
  • ½ oz mezcal
  • ¾ oz Campari
  • 1 ½ oz lime
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • 4 watermelon pieces
  • 6 — 7 oz ice


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour into coup glasses. Serves 2.


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