In keeping my promise to myself to use more clear spirits in my summer cocktails, I’ve been continuing to experiment with vodka, which is an easy spirit to use since it’s amenable to so many different flavors.
I bought a couple sugar melons at the farmer’s market and when the remaining rogue melon was staring at me from the fruit bowl on Saturday night, I thought it might be asking me to put it in a cocktail. Until buying them at the farmer’s market recently, I had never had a sugar melon, which is similar to a cantaloupe, but so so much better! It’s smaller, sweeter, juicier, and has a creamy texture, almost like a fruit creamsicle. Highly recommended, even for those that don’t like cantaloupes (my boyfriend, Jeremiah, hates cantaloupes, but loved these).
I thought that the melon would pair nicely with vodka, but I needed to add a little something else to give the cocktail that added element of wonder (i.e. make it taste like it could be served in a fancy bar). My friends Mark and Jen were over and I tasked them and Jeremiah with helping me decide what would pair well with the melon and vodka. I got out shot glasses and we tried a few different liqueurs (Sloe Gin, Chambord, Cointreau, etc.), but ultimately settled on my favorite – St. Germain! I really love this stuff and I haven’t found a spirit it doesn’t pair well with. Seriously, if you don’t have this in your liquor cabinet, you need it, now.
Once I had my ingredients down, I had to work on ratios. With a little experimentation and great test subjects, this cocktail was born.
1 1/4 ounces Sugar Melon juice, or more depending upon the individual sweetness of the melon (Cantaloupe will suffice if Sugar Melon is unavailable)
1 ounce St. Germain
2 ounces Vodka
To juice the Sugar Melon, cut it in half and remove the seeds, scoop out the inside flesh and put it in a bowl, and then puree it with an immersion blender, or place it in a blender and blend it up. Sugar Melon is so juicy that when blended it just turns into a slightly thickened juice, so there’s no need to strain the pulp.
Once you’ve got your juice, place all ingredients into a martini shaker with an ample amount of ice and give them a good shake. Then, most importantly, before serving your cocktail, taste it. If you’re using Cantaloupe instead of Sugar Melon, you might need to add more juice to achieve the right balance of melon to vodka. When adjusted to your liking, strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint. To release the mint essence, place the mint in your hand and clap your hands together, once or twice, slightly flattening the mint, before placing it in the glass. You’ll know the essence is released when you can smell the mint.