Bobby Flay's Go-To Grilling Drink Is Basically Pulverized Watermelon

If there are two things that Bobby Flay is known for — it's grilling and Southwestern flare. He has several burger restaurants and steakhouses to his name, and he has starred in grilling-centric shows like "Boy Meets Grill," "BBQ with Bobby Flay," and "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction." He has also found a lot of inspiration from Southwestern flavors, which include an aromatic and spicy mix of ingredients associated with Latin and Native American traditions.

So whether Flay is cooking up a grilled corn salad inspired by Mexican street corn or skirt steak with mango sauce and escabeche, it is no surprise that he prefers a drink that comes from south of the border. Flay loves a watermelon agua fresca (also known as agua de sandia) — a simple blend of fresh watermelon, water, and sugar that is common across Mexico. He says you can — of course — opt for something alcoholic, but he often prefers something fruity, refreshing, and hydrating to sip on when standing over a hot grill.

How does Bobby Flay make a watermelon agua fresca?

Agua fresca simply translates to "fresh water," and can be made with any number of fruits, plus water and a sweetener. Bobby Flay keeps it super simple by blending seedless watermelon chunks with water. Flay notes that the seeds and any heavy pulp should sink to the bottom of the blender before you pour the juice into a pitcher, but if you prefer a pulp-free drink, you can strain the mix through a fine mesh sieve.

Top off with more cold water or even sparkling water (if you want to feel fancy), and sweeten to your taste with sugar, honey, or agave. You might want to skip a sweetener altogether if the watermelon is super ripe — or you may need to add a little more extra sweetener if you were over-excited and cut into your watermelon too soon. Serve with a Tajin rim, a wedge of lime, or a tiny triangle of watermelon for a fun garnish that you can snack on when you're done.

Make this watermelon agua fresca your own

There are an endless number of ways to customize this fruity drink. Blitz the watermelon with other types of fruit like honeydew, cantaloupe, strawberries, pineapple, cucumber, or kiwi for a mixed agua fresca. Add fresh lime or lemon juice to create what is essentially a watermelon limeade or lemonade. Add an herbaceous note with fresh mint, basil, lemon balm, or Thai basil. Bring a little zing to the glass with a knob of fresh ginger, some ground pink peppercorn, or a fresh jalapeño for those who like spicy. If you plan a little bit ahead, freeze watermelon for booze-optional slushies, which can also include any number of these fun extra ingredients.

Just because Bobby Flay doesn't like a tipple while he flips burgers doesn't mean that you can't imbibe during your own backyard barbecue. Spike your watermelon agua fresca with tequila or mezcal, or even gin or vodka if agave-based spirits aren't your jam. Substitute some of the water in the blend for sparkling wine or even top an ice-cold wheat beer with agua fresca for a refreshing watermelon shandy. The choice is yours! No matter what, you'll have something delicious to gulp down — a perfect way to beat the heat.