Big Melon of Flavor in a Single Glass
Spiking a watermelon with vodka is like a magic and indulgent party trick. A 10-pound watermelon can soak up about three cups of vodka through a small hole cut into the rind. After the flesh is fully infused, some kind of crazy enzymatic alchemy happens on the inside until you can pour the sweet, boozy, liquified fruit straight from the opening. So much more fun than a boring old punch bowl!
That’s the upside. The downside of spiking a watermelon is it takes 8 to 12 hours to transform the contents into a pourable liquid. And, if you’re only serving a few people, 10 pounds of drinkable melon seems a little extra.
Small Size, Big Taste
Fortunately, Culinary Vegetable Institute mixologist Liz Studer has a solution in a scaled down concoction to satisfy a watermelon hankering.
“This is one of my original cocktails that I first came up with at a place I worked called Canoe Club a few years back,” Studer said. “A couple of people still remember me for this one.”
Studer said the success of her Watermelon Mint Fresca draws on watermelon’s natural affinity for citrus and herbs, which lend complexity and dimension to the fruit’s one-note sweetness.
“It’s basically muddled Chef’s Garden fresh mint with lime juice and muddled watermelon,” she said. Winking during a long pour of alcohol, she added, “Oh yeah, and there’s a bit of vodka in there, too.”
Studer muddled the mint and watermelon, and measured two parts vodka with one part each of lime simple syrup. The alcohol, combined with the muddling action, made quick work of infusing and liquefying the fruit, saving hours of time compared with the traditional method of spiking an entire melon.
“I’m going to double strain it over some crushed ice,” she said, straining the Watermelon Mint Fresca into a frosty metallic tumbler. “And I need a pretty mint garnish.”
Watermelon Fresca Recipe:
6 pieces cubed watermelon
8-10 English Mint leaves
2 ounces Vodka
.75 ounces fresh lime juice
.5 ounce mint simple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, muddle watermelon and mint with the simple syrup.
Add Vodka, Lime, and ice. Shake, and double strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Top with soda water and garnish with mint sprigs. Cheers!
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