What would summer be without a slice of watermelon? It is hard to imagine a food more perfectly designed for enjoyment in the sweltering weather of June, July, and August. The melon is hydrating, sweet, and cool, and it bears a unique texture that is crisp and tender all at once.
Of course, this fruit is delicious with no additional culinary wizardry. However, if you’d like to discover how the Hudson Valley has stretched the capabilities of watermelon in the way of drinks, sweets, and salads, take a trip to these local establishments.
Main Street, Beacon
First on our list is this speakeasy-esque cocktail bar in the heart of Beacon, offering exceptional drinks and small bites. Before you even order your drink, you’ll soak in the atmosphere with swanky design touches like a black-and-white checkerboard floor and sculptural lighting fixtures. Here, the watermelon finds a home in “The Coast is Toast,” a Mezcal cocktail with dry curacao, agave, watermelon, lime, and serrano pepper, balancing the levity of the melon and lime with a slight bite.
East Chester Street, Kingston
With over 30 flavors of soft serve ice cream available every day, it is no surprise that Mickey’s offers watermelon ice cream. Could you imagine a better treat for a hot summer day? In addition to soft serve, the sweet spot offers sugar-free and vegan options, as well as fries, onion rings, fried pickle chips, macaroni and cheese bites, jalapeno poppers, mozzarella-zucchini sticks, fried dough, and more.
Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson
While this restaurant is best known for its stellar Italian standards—its fusilli alla Bolognese and chicken Marsala come to mind—the menu includes a few recipes outside this canon, including a watermelon salad. Topped with feta and fresh mint, this dish serves as the ideal precursor to a heavier main course. Enjoy the salad with one of the signature cocktails or the Valley-native Juice Bomb IPA, which Divino keeps on draft.
Warren Street, Hudson
Situated on Hudson’s most popular street, this establishment promises “farmer-made wine, independent craft beer, thought-provoking cocktails” in a simple, modern environment; the bare brick, marble countertop, and scattered houseplants make for an upscale, yet unpretentious feel. Here, watermelon is featured in the “Banzai Pipeline”—another spicy-and-sweet amalgam of flavor—alongside tequila, mezcal, Campari, vermouth, watermelon-jalapeno syrup, grapefruit juice, and salt.
Market Street, Poughkeepsie
Rounding out our selection of watermelon cocktails is the “Ooh Na Na” at this beloved Poughkeepsie hangout. Rather than appropriate the melon to balance a spicy cocktail, this drink leans tropical with ingredients like velvet falernum (a tropical liqueur), Italicus (an Italian liqueur made with rose petals), lime, cucumber puree, and—of course—watermelon.
Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains; Palmer Avenue, Mamaroneck
As far as hot dog stands go, Walter’s is the cream of the crop; it has been recognized nationally for its superlative hot dogs. Yet, as you peruse the extensive menu, the dessert options—including the homemade Italian ice—are hard to ignore. One of the current seasonal flavors is watermelon, which is the perfect complement to a hot dog and fries dipped in ketchup or mustard.