It is sweltering in the Northeastern section of America right now. I’m talking, melt-your-face-off, apply-deodorant-to-your-inner-thighs-to-keep-them-from-sticking-together, not-even-the-Sahara-animals-can-stand-this-shit kind of heat. I don’t usually comment on the weather because:
1) It’s boring
2) What the hell am I going to do about it?
3) ‘Captain Obvious’ is not a good title for me.
But …this is bullshit.
In order to combat the depression of not being able to venture out-of-doors for more than 30 seconds, the other day I got a hankering for something that would keep me in touch with summer, but not cause me to walk on the sun that has seemingly landed on Pennsylvania. Hmmmm, maybe … a fresh summer melon salad? Yes, that’s just the thing that would remind me of the days where I could actually step outside and let the sun kiss my face without dissolving in a pool of sweat. Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon, that’s all. Maybe I’d get crazy and throw in a little fresh mint to shake things up, but I’m a firm believer in the KISS rule when it comes to food. You know, Keep It Simple Silly. Nature’s perfection doesn’t need anything too fancy.
I prefer to go to a local roadside stand or at least a farmers market for really fresh fruits and veggies, but I was kind of in a rush so I ended up at Wegman’s instead. They are respectable, after all. I paid an ungodly amount of money for the 3 fruits, but didn’t care because I was eager to get them home and slice ’em up.
Once home, I got out my knives and cutting boards and started in on the cantaloupe because it smelled divine through the skin. Smelled like summer. Sure enough, it was as sweet as candy. I cubed it and tossed it in a bowl. Next up, the honeydew. Hmmmm, it was a little crunchier than I would have like it to have been, but it wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had either. I guess that’s the risk you take with food you can’t see inside of. Oh well, into the bowl it went too. And finally, I speared the watermelon.
(Insert sound of trombone here: Waa-Waa.)
Pink. It was pink inside. Not crimson red like we have all been conditioned to expect from a July watermelon. My lower lip quivered and my brow furrowed. THIS was not going to alleviate my summer cabin fever AT ALL! I held out hope anyway and cut a little sliver off for a taste.
It wasn’t completely flavorless, but it wasn’t the sugary, crunchy deliciousness I was craving either. I was at a cross-roads. Add it to the salad and suffer through it or toss it in the trash and scour the internet for full proof watermelon choosing techniques? Why, God, why??
And then, all of a sudden, for no reason what-so-ever, brilliance struck. (And brilliance doesn’t strike me often because, well, let’s face it – I’m kind of a dumb-ass. I’m very good at following rules, but coming up with ideas is not my forté.) I looked at my pink watermelon and thought it would pair perfectly with some ice an a little vodka. Screw the summer melon salad! I got to work cutting the watermelon into large chunks for the blender.
By the way, if you don’t have a Ninja blender, get one! It’s bad-ass.
The Ninja. Kicking ass and taking names.
I tossed the roughly chopped blush-colored meat of the melon into my handy-dandy appliance, plugged it in, hit start and my space shuttle of a blender whirled that shit down in no time. Now here’s the tricky part. I didn’t want the pulp in the drink, so I strained it. I lovingly, painstakingly strained 18 cups of watermelon extract using a rubber spatula and a very small mesh strainer into a beautiful glass pitcher. It took me a long ass time to do it (like 45 minutes), but it was SOOOO worth it.
After chilling the elixir for a few hours I decided it was finally time to reap the rewards of my hard work. About 9 cups of ice went into the freshly cleaned blender. To that, I added 2 cups of Esmé vodka (from my beloved Total Wine – if you don’t know about TW, see my previous post, She Had Me At Hello), 6 cups of the watermelon juice, the juice from half a lime and approximately 1/4 cup sugar.
With great anticipation, I poured it into a martini glass and added a sprig of mint for extra summery-ness. I lifted the glass to my lips and let the concoction bathe my tongue.
Where have you been all my life, watermelon martini? Why did I ever mess around with those other summery drinks of my past? Last year it was Sweet Tea Vodka, the year before cucumber-mango mojitos. But in the words of Prince, “nothing compares to you”. Oh how could I ever have even pretended there was another before you?? I know better now, my love, I will never forsake you again.
Perfection in a glass.
So whether you are willing to prepare this for a full-fledged summer party or you just want to avoid the heat and sit in your climate-controlled living room with the one you love sipping the most refreshing cocktail of all time, treat yourself and take the time to make this liquid perfection at some point before the weather turns to chilly nights and thoughts of Halloween parties.
It is my gift to you. You’re welcome.
Because 1 picture just isn't enough...