Sunday, August 1, 2010

Watermelon + Alcohol x 2 = ?

Ok, there is no messing around here. I love cocktails. I love how they look, I love how they taste (well, not all of them), I love the way they are served—pieces of fruit dangling from the side of the glass, colorful straws standing upright in a pool of liquid fusion, rims coated with salty or sweet granules giving the mouth its first taste of what's to come. But most of all, I love the idea of the cocktail.





Simply by hearing the word cocktail, my mind travels to hot summer nights filled with music playing in the background, sounds of ice cubes fighting in tall glasses, laughter, conspiratorially sweet whispers, bare feet tapping on cool tiles and friends toasting to good times.





An alcoholic-based drink mixed with flavorings; that is the official definition of a cocktail. Flavorings of any kind can be used in one—tropical fruit, honey, vanilla, olives, coffee, caramel or various herbs. This is the beauty of a cocktail. The infinite combinations that can occur from mixing different distilled spirits with sweet, sour, spicy or salty ingredients in order to come up with unique and pleasurable drinks. That's what the art and science of mixology is all about.





Everyone has a preferred drink or cocktail and even though I'm not a heavy drinker, I usually have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer, cocktails are my one alcoholic weakness. Fruity, sweet cocktails are ideal for my taste buds since I don't particularly enjoy very bitter or sour flavors in drinks. So, the addition of watermelon in a daiquiri or a margarita is to me perfection.






Watermelon is my favorite fruit of the summer. It always has been. Up until I was eleven or twelve years old, I was spending about a month each summer on the island of Crete, in Kasteli, a village outside Chania, where my aunt's husband was from. Crete is famous for, among other things, its watermelons; big, juicy, highly fragrant, bright red with dark, black seeds watermelons. My uncle's mother was a farmer who cultivated these gorgeous watermelons and couldn't wait for us to visit so that she would offer us her beautiful fruit to taste. She was very proud of her fruit.





We would all sit under the shade of a huge fig tree that stood right in the middle of her back yard. Right next to us, there would be a large pile of watermelons and she would choose one carefully, cut it open with her hefty kitchen knife, taking out the heart—in Greece, the middle part of the watermelon which is the juicier, sweeter and tastier of the whole fruit, is called the watermelon heart—handing it to us to eat. Without second thought, she would throw the rest of it to the chickens that run crazed all around the yard and they would devour it in a instant. She would go on to cut open the next watermelon and then the next and the next, until we could eat no more.





Naturally, I can't find these succulent watermelons in Holland, so I have to settle for whatever is available, which surprisingly enough isn't too bad. What I have discovered here, are the seedless watermelons. I never knew of their existence until I moved to Holland. They do contain some white-colored seeds but they are very small and soft so I certainly don't bother picking them out of the fruit. This is what makes them fitting for cocktail use.





Watermelon-flavored Daiquiri and Margarita are the cocktails of my choice. Ok, get ready to get dizzy with me. These cocktails may seem to you like girly drinks but trust me, men enjoy them too. I know this for sure. The daiquiri is a mix of rum, Triple Sec, lime juice, watermelon and sugar. The margarita is a mix of tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice and watermelon. Is this simple or what? All you need is a blender and lots of ice and you are ready to start making some cocktails.





These cocktails are slightly sweet, especially the daiquiri which contains a little bit of sugar and they're bursting with watermelon flavor. The rum and tequila taste comes through, making these drinks fairly strong yet refreshing, totally enjoyable and delicious, summery, bright, luscious. Enjoy them among friends, with your significant other or serve them at a cocktail party along with some large plates of summer fruit.











Watermelon Daiquiri

With both the daiquiri and the margarita, you start by puréeing the watermelon.
If you use a regular watermelon, you need to seed it first. If you use a seedless one, then you might want to pick the biggest seeds out. In both cases, you can also strain the purée before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. I used a seedless watermelon and I actually opted not to strain the purée.

You can substitute watermelon with other types of melon like cantaloupes or honeydews to change things up. They too make great cocktails.





Yield: 450 ml daiquiri / 2 large drinks

Ingredients
220 g (1 ½ cup) watermelon, chilled, seeded and cut into small pieces
22 ml (1 ½ Tbsp) lime juice, freshly squeezed
75 ml (1/4 cup and 1 Tbsp) white (light) rum
22 ml (1 ½ Tbsp) Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
13 g (1 Tbsp) superfine granulated sugar
8 large ice cubes

Watermelon wedges for garnishing the glasses

Special equipment: blender, cocktail glasses


Preparation
Place the watermelon pieces and the lime juice in a blender and purée it. Add rum, Triple Sec, sugar and ice cubes and blend well for 1 minute, until smooth.

Pour daiquiri in a cocktail glass, preferably chilled, and garnish with a watermelon wedge.

If your watermelon is not very sweet, you can add some extra sugar. Taste and see.

You may also add more rum if you like your cocktails very strong.

Alternatively, you can prepare the daiquiri without adding the ice to the blender but adding some ice cubes in the glass when you serve it.










Watermelon Margarita

With both the daiquiri and the margarita, you start by puréeing the watermelon.
If you use a regular watermelon, you need to seed it first. If you use a seedless one, then you might want to pick the biggest seeds out. In both cases, you can also strain the purée before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. I used a seedless watermelon and I actually opted not to strain the purée.

You can substitute watermelon with other types of melon like cantaloupes or honeydews to change things up. They too make great cocktails.





Yield: 500 ml / 2-3 large drinks

Ingredients
220 g (1 ½ cup) watermelon, chilled, seeded and cut into small pieces
60 ml (1/4 cup) lime juice, freshly squeezed
60 ml (1/4 cup) silver (white) tequila
60 ml (1/4 cup) Triple Sec (or Cointreau)
8 large ice cubes

Coarse salt for rims of glasses
Lime wedges for garnishing the glasses

Special equipment: blender, cocktail glasses


Preparation
Take a lime wedge and rub it along the rim the glass, in order to moisten it. Then put some coarse salt on a plate large enough for the entire rim to be dipped at once, spread salt around the plate and dip the glass in the salt. Twirl the glass around so that the salt sticks well to the rim. Shake off any excess salt.

Place the watermelon pieces and the lime juice in a blender and purée it. Add tequila, Triple Sec and ice cubes and blend well for 1 minute, until smooth.

Pour margarita in a margarita or cocktail glass with salted rim and garnish with a lime wedge.

If your watermelon is not very sweet, you can add some sugar. Taste and see.

You may also add more tequila if you like your cocktails very strong.

Alternatively, you can prepare the margarita without adding the ice to the blender but adding some ice cubes in the glass when you serve it.




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19 comments:

  1. The daiquari, by the way, was Ernest Hemingway's favorite drink. And no one ever accused him of being a girlie-man. Cheers!

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  2. I didn't know that about Hemingway. You have to admit though that some men just have a natural aversion to anything pink :) Cheers!

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  3. Magda

    I did not know chickens loved watermelons! How funny! Love that story of your aunt's filling you up on watermelons and these two drinks sound fabulous!!!!!

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  4. Cocktails are lovely things. I think these could be quite dangerous for me :) I love watermelon.

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  5. tasteofbeirut — yes chickens do love watermelon, they go crazy over it!

    Tracy — they can be dangerous for sure :)

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  6. I'm not sure if this is readily available in Holland, but if you can find it, agave nectar is heavenly in a margarita--it adds sweetness but also the flavor of the agave itself, which is surprisingly good.

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  7. Thank you for your suggestion Elizabeth. I've never tasted agave before. I believe I can find it here. I'll give it a try!

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  8. Ooh la la! I'm not a big drinker (at all!) but I love the look of the margarita!

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  9. Woah! This looks so frothy and delicious. I love the color! It has been bookmarked and will be made very soon :)

    Sues

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  10. There is a cool bar in Melbourne, "Mamasita", that serves margaritas. The watermelon one was a revelation! I like the idea of making one and glad you've shared the recipe. But I fear I will just have to go back to the cool bar and have a drink in their nice surrounds.

    By the way, first time visitor to you blog. Looks very nice. Looking foward to trying some of your recipes. Cheers Deb

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  11. Trissa — I'm not such a big drinker either but when it comes to these 2 drinks I just can't say no.

    Sues — enjoy and cheers!

    Deb — thanks for stopping by and if I'm ever in Melbourne I'll know which bar to go to ;)

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  12. I have never had watermelon in a drink. Looks so refreshing.

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  13. Just had a cocktail session hic (yes I know- midweek how bad!) Magda what a bad influence you are!
    I didn't know about chickens but I did know that cats can be a bit partial to watermelon:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LOIhlP1U6M

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  14. Helene — thanks!

    A Dutch Brit — haha the watermelon eating cat was so funny! Cocktail session... sounds cool. Even midweek :)

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  15. your cocktails look simply refreshing. I have a few watermelons growing in my garden, and can't wait to harvest them! a special cocktail made with one is in order for these hot hot days.

    fantastic photos, as usual!!

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  16. Magda- You are leading me astray again! I have just made your wonderful cocktails- I favoured the Daiquiri but I never quite know what to do with Tequila and I must say it was very pleasant in the Watermelon Margarita so I am quite impressed! Proost! Cheers! Jamas!

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  17. Nancy — thanks!

    A Dutch Brit — ya mas! Glad you enjoyed it!

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  18. It looks gorgeous.....I love watermelon, alcohol not so much! I especially love the first photo

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  19. What to do with a large water melon taking up valuable space in the fridge? That's easy- back on the cocktails of course! They just get better!

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