Most people think that you need a lot of land around you to grow watermelon because their vines need to spread out. But watermelon varieties are available in dwarf sizes and don’t require the land you might think you would need to grow them. There are also an amazing range of things you can do with all of the watermelon that’s in season right now–both sweet like this watermelon agua fresca and savory, like this savory recipe I’m sharing with you today for a Tipsy Watermelon Salad. This recipe is a little savory medley with a boozy dressing for a decidedly grownup salad. The basil can be substituted for arugula, which is equally delicious though not as spicy.

Tipsy Watermelon Salad:

Tipsy Watermelon Salad

Cut The Watermelon Into Thick Slices

The beauty of this salad  is not just the taste but also the presentation. Cut the watermelon into thick slices so that they feel almost like cutting into a steak.

Tipsy Watermelon Salad

 Experiment With Garnish

The Malden salt is what really makes this dish, those course flakes make for a wonderful texture and savory balance. But also try adding shaved fennel and other fresh summer vegetables that are thinly sliced for added texture and color. Just keep it light and subtle so the watermelon is the star.

Tipsy Watermelon Salad

Try Different Herbs

Some herbs are peppery, some add aroma, some add sweetness. Try different types of basil–purple, Thai, globe–along with peppery arugula, baby kale, micro greens, even aromatic herbs like thyme and lemon verbena. 

What is your favorite way to use watermelon? Share with me in the comments or on social media @GeorgiaPellegrini using #ModernPioneering!

“Tipsy Watermelon Salad”

Prep Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins


  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 small watermelon well chilled, rind removed, and cut into ¾-inch thick rectangles, about 4 cups
  • Maldon salt flakes or coarse sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 small fennel bulb very thinly shaved
  • 2 cups basil or baby arugula leaves


  • In a small bowl, add the whiskey, lime, olive oil, and cayenne pepper and whisk to combine.
  • Lay a thick rectangle of watermelon on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with shaved fennel and arugula. Drizzle several tablespoons of the whiskey dressing over the top of it all, finish off with another sprinkle of salt and more pepper, and serve.

Growing up on her family’s farm in upstate New York, Georgia developed a passion for simple farm-to table food and a deep connection to the outdoors. Having worked in the finance world after college, she decided to leave her cubicle and reconnect with her roots. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute, she began working in Michelin restaurants in New York and France, and soon started leading her renowned Adventure Getaways: excursions around the country aimed at promoting “manual literacy” and helping participants step outside of their comfort zone and experience life more viscerally. Georgia is a firm believer in empowering people to be self-sufficient, identify personal strengths and pursue their life passions.