Sure, you can beat the heat by buying cubed watermelon at the bodega, but that’s so basic. Here’s how to get your watermelon fix and be extra.
Ladle soju punch from a watermelon
At Pocha 32, 15 W 32nd St # 2, Koreatown.
Pocha 32, a second-floor pub hidden away in Koreatown, would be worth the trip even if it didn’t use hollowed-out watermelons as punch bowls. Notes written on chopstick wrappers hang from the fishnet that covers the walls and ceiling, and oil drums serve as tables. It’s a festive place for dipping a ladle into a watermelon and helping yourself to a frothy mixture of ice, soju, Sprite, and fruit puree. This is a lot of drank even for two people to share, but you can always sneak the leftovers into the Vivi lightbulb jar below.
Sip watermelon slush from a lightbulb
At Vivi Bubble Tea, 30 3rd Ave., East Village.
The corner of Third Avenue and East Ninth Street is a twilight zone of novelty drinking vessels. First off, there’s the coffee in a cone at Frisson Espresso. It’s fun, but kind of a mess. If you tilt the chocolate-lined cone the wrong way or take too big a bite, you’ve got a macchiato shot all over your Gucci shirt. That’s why you’ll want to opt instead for Vivi Bubble Tea, a couple doors down. They blend chunks of watermelon and pour the slush into plastic jars shaped like lightbulbs. Yes, lightbulbs, right down to the screw-off socket. The watermelon slush tastes very fresh, and you can add tapioca balls to make it extra exotic.
Slurp a watermelon freeze with candy seeds in it
At Taco Bell, 18 East 14th St., Union Square.
Not gonna lie: Taco Bell’s new watermelon freeze is a bit of an abomination. It’s made with carbonated water, so it’s a bit fizzier than Vivi’s slush, and it tastes a lot like Mr. Bubbles (you won’t find watermelon anywhere on the ingredients list). But one thing makes this Slurpee-esque concoction addictive: It comes with faux watermelon seeds that are a delight to chew. The candy seeds are artificially flavored with who knows what; to me they taste a little chocolatey. There’s just one problem: You have to go to a Taco Bell that a) has a frozen drink machine, and b) has the seeds. The Taco Bell off of the Flushing M does not have a frozen drink machine. The Taco Bell on Myrtle, in Ridgewood, does have a frozen drink machine but there were no seeds in the one I tried there. The Taco Bell in Union Square will hook you up.