Summer Melon Cooler
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Melon has to be my go to summer flavor. I spent most summers at my grandparents’ farm, where the melon field spread as far as the eye could see. Picking up cantaloupes from my grandma’s garden was one way to earn your “playtime” back then. And even though harvesting them wasn’t exactly a picnic, feasting on home grown melons, wrapped with whatever cold cuts my grandma was able to get her hands on that week, had to be one of the high points of my summers. Needless to say, I can eat melon in any shape or form, but I have always found fresh melon cocktails rather disappointing, often lacking that genuine melon taste.
And while there are plenty of good melon liqueurs that can force the melon flavor into a cocktail, my Farm-to-Bar Visit last week inspired me to make a fresh “farmer’s market” melon concoction. This cocktail was supposed to be that quintessential summer drink that had no “special effects” and required no fancy equipment – a drink that said, “I don’t take myself too seriously.”
But to be honest, I actually put quite some time into crafting and perfecting this cocktail, as getting that natural melon flavor was harder than I anticipated. Even though the cantaloupe juice I used was delicious and rich, other flavors still overpowered it, and when I got the taste right, the texture was flat. But then, after a whole day of experimenting, I found the secret ingredient – salt. Just a pinch of salt was enough to bring the melon flavor forward and balance the overall taste of this gem. And once I topped it off with a little bit of Angostura bitters and garnished with freshly cut wheatgrass, this farm to bar masterpiece was complete.
Made with moderate to good-quality silver tequila, and easy to find ingredients like fresh sage, lime, and cantaloupe, this is my ultimate “playtime” cocktail and another bar quality cocktail you can make at home.
Oh and if you’re anything like me and love smokey drinks, rinse the serving glass with a touch of Mezcal before straining the cocktail. You taste buds would thank you!
Summer Melon Cooler
- 1.5 oz Silver Tequila
- 3 oz Freshly Pressed Cantaloupe Melon Juice
- 0.5 oz Simple Syrup
- 0.25 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- 3-4 Sage Leaves
- Pinch Salt
- 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Mezcal Rinse (optional)
Rinse a collins glass with Mezcal (optional)
Add all ingredients, besides Angostura Bitters, in a cocktail shaker
Add ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds
Fine strain the cocktail into the collins glass filled with ice
Top with a few dashes of Angostura Bitters and garnish with wheat grass
One important thing I learned on the farm is how to identify which melons are ripe. While the color is usually a good indicator, the best way to figure out if the fruit is ready to go is to actually smell it - if it has that sweet melon aroma, it's good to go.
You can buy melon juice from your farmers market or juice your own cantaloupe right before you make the cocktail. I obviously recommend the ladder, as it will be much fresher. And if you don't have a juicer, you can slice melon into 1-inch cubes and muddle it before adding the rest of the ingredients in the shaker. About 4-5 cubes should be enough for one cocktail.