Recipe Review

I Tried the Trending Korean-Style Watermelon Punch Recipe and I Was Surprised at How Refreshing It Is

published Jul 20, 2022
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I Tried Korean Watermelon Punch
Credit: Renae Wilson

In my opinion, punch seems underrated these days. I grew up drinking tons of different punches at family celebrations. And I love the classic 1970’s punch that’s made with lime sherbet and lemon-lime soda.

Every now and again, I like to get boozy with punches at home in the summer. I love to pour rosé over a raspberry sherbet and add frozen raspberries. I also love doing a white wine spritzer with flavored seltzer and frozen grapes. It’s not all boozy though. A really refreshing option when it’s wildly hot is lemon Italian ice topped with lemon-flavored sparkling water.  

Though these are somewhat sophisticated options, it doesn’t mean I’m not down for some fun. So, when I came across Jessica Cha’s recipe for Korean-Style Watermelon Punch, I had to give it a go. While skeptical, my interest was piqued. It has all the things that make a punch fun: there’s cold fruit, fizzy soda, sweetened condensed milk, and GUMMIES!  

Credit: Renae Wilson

What Is Korean Watermelon Punch?

Hwachae is a term for all kinds of Korean punches. More traditionally, different fruits and edible flowers are soaked in honey water or magnolia berry juice. Modern punches add a bit more of the whimsy with the use of flavored sodas and fruit juices plus tapioca and other fruity candies. Jessica gives some variations on her page offering the option of adding tapioca and fruit cocktail. In place of the lemon-lime soda she uses Milkis, which is a Korean milk soda.

How to Make Korean Watermelon Punch

It’s a very simple process. Grab a ripe watermelon and cut it up into chunks. I wanted mine to look cute so I used a melon baller and scooped out balls of watermelon. In a bowl, add the watermelon and some ice. I happened to be out of ice so I gave my melon balls some time to freeze in the freezer before I finished making the punch. Next, add lemon-lime soda and a splash of milk of your choosing. Float some optional gummies on top and drizzle with sweetened condensed milk. 

My Honest Opinion of Korean Watermelon Punch

Even though I’m a sucker for anything that seems like it’s exclusively for children, I was kind of doubtful with this one. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel as this recipe seemed as if it would be super sweet. Thankfully, however, that was not the case at all.

I was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing this is. It’s mildly sweet — even with the addition of the condensed milk and gummy bears. I love the slight creaminess the milk adds. It’s important to note though that the gummy bears get hard because they are cold, so only add them if you’re potentially up for a sore jaw later. But to be honest, I didn’t mind it. Over all, I’d say this is something I’d try again with my nieces and nephews. 

Credit: Renae Wilson

3 Tips for Making Watermelon Punch:

  1. Add additional melon or other fruits. In my research on Hwachae, I found that all kinds of fruit are used. Adding multiple types of melon or berries could shake things up.
  2. Make it tropical. Using coconut for your milk option and then drizzling with sweetened condensed coconut milk is a cool way to bring you into tropical flavor town.
  3. Make fun shapes. If you slice your watermelon, you can make your punch with different cut out shapes for a different look or to match a party theme.