And not just any punch: arrack punch, a funky, rum-heavy concoction once common in the flowing bowls of previous centuries, but little seen in the last 80 years. There's no reason, however, that you couldn't spike a watermelon with a pre-made cocktail: say, 8-12 ounces for a 10-pound melon. An enormous margarita, perhaps, or if you favor tarter tastes, a massive Negroni.
Until recently, the primary ingredient for the punch I chose — Batavia arrack — was no longer available in the United States. However, thanks to importer Eric Seed at Haus Alpenz, the 100 proof Indonesian spirit made of fermented rice and molasses is once more available. Combined with Jamaican rum, lime, sugar, and tea, it's just the thing to add a lightly boozy and slightly Baroque touch to Independence Day cookouts.
Arrack Punched Watermelon
One 10-11lb watermelonNote that the purpose of this particular melon is not to get you staggeringly drunk, but rather to showcase complementary tastes. After all, it's less than an ounce of punch for each pound of melon. If the staggers is what you after, consider straight rum, vodka, tequila, or Confederate chloroform. Any way you slice it, you're on your own.
6-10 oz of arrack punch
For this preparation, cut a round hole in the top of a chilled watermelon. Why round? Because a square hole may sometimes lead to cracks spreading out from its corners. Gently remove the plug and trim away most of the red flesh from its interior. Next, remove a small amount of flesh from the melon itself: just a small amount, enough to make a small cavity to hold liquor as it seeps into the flesh.
Then slowly pour liquor into the hole. My 11-lb melon easily absorbed one cup (250ml) of punch. It may help to pour in 2 ounces at a time, wait until that is absorbed, then add more until the melon just can't take any more. You may also speed the process by gently inserting a bamboo skewer at various angles into the flash — though be careful not to puncture the rind at any point. It seems obvious, but: leaks. Replace the round plug and keep in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve.
Confederate chloroform? Why, it's just moonshine. We get that around here, too.