Sure, I adore my classic craft cocktails but I won’t turn down large-batched, fruity cocktails either. No, I don’t mean the syrupy concoctions swirling around in frozen margarita machines. There are ideal times for hydrating, natural fruit juice cocktails. Sizzling summer barbecues and patio parties would be those times.
When I think “refreshing”, watermelon immediately comes to mind. The faint floral sweetness and unsurpassed juiciness makes this economical fruit a fantastic summer cocktail base. Tart limes and firey jalapeño peppers inject a burst of Southern zest. Muddle in some freshly picked herbs for additional earthiness. Top with sparkling soda and don’t forget a generous splash of liquor, such as tequila, vodka, or in my case, gin.
- 1 blenderful of watermelon cubes
- 2 limes, wedged
- 1 bunch of leafy herbs (think: mint, basil, cilantro)
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, deseeded.
- 1-2 cups of club soda
- Liquor of choice, approximately 12 oz. (think: gin, tequila, rum, vodka)
- simple syrup to taste
- ice cubes
- Whiz the chilled watermelon in a blender and strain for a smoother cocktail to serve on ice. For a frozen variation, freeze some watermelon cubes and blend it in with the chilled watermelon.
- In a large pitcher, muddle 1 lime, herb leaves, and 1-2 jalapeños. Use a rolling pin or the bottom of a glass bottle if you don’t have a muddler.
- Stir in the blended watermelon, liquor, a splash of soda, and sweeten to taste.
- Serve in ice-filled glasses and garnish with lime wedges, herbs, and jalapeño slices.