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Marvelous Melons: Cocktails and More

A few Summers ago, I whipped up a party-size batch of Watermelon Sangria. It was a hit and, really, just plain made my croquet game even better!

Some may think that melons have a hard time growing in our rainy climate, but thanks to irrigation in the drier and hotter environment of eastern Washington and Oregon — they are quite prolific. Hermiston, Oregon is especially well known for its watermelon crops. These famous melons are juicy and sweet!

With their crisp, cool, and refreshing qualities, melons evoke the essence of the summer season. We enjoy them in a multitude of ways, from simple chilled watermelon wedges with a sprinkling of chili lime salt – to colorful melon-ball skewers of honeydew and cantaloupe intertwined with thinly sliced prosciutto for utensil-free outdoor app-ing!

And if you want to try something new in the cocktail category, try shaking up my “Smitten” cocktail – tequila, fresh watermelon chunks, tart lime juice, a little simple syrup, a few sprigs of fresh cilantro and a dash of hot sauce – it’s different and d’lish! I’ve included a link to the video too.

So be sure to enjoy them while you can; there’s nothing like summer’s fresh melons to cool you off on a hot day!

Smitten
It’s what you’ll be after drinking this drink! It’s like fire and ice in a glass. But use the hot sauce with slight hand.. it should enhance – not overpower. Shake in a few sprigs of cilantro for a little herbalicious’ness.

Makes 1 drink

1/3 cup fresh ripe watermelon (large 1” cubes)
2 oz. Sauza Blue tequila
3/4 oz. agave nectar
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
2 dashes Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce
Garnish: half rim DIY Citrus Salt (recipe follows)

Muddle watermelon in a mixing glass, being sure to press the melon well to release the juices.  Measure in tequila, agave, and lime juice. Shake in hot sauce – do not over do it! Fill with ice. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass with a partial Citrus Salt rim.

DIY Citrus Salt
I like to make this with coarse Fleur de Sel, but you can make the entire recipe with kosher salt too. Makes about 2 cups.

zest of 2 lemons
zest of 1 large orange
1 1/2 cups kosher salt or Fleur De Sel
——————————————-
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar

With a potato peeler, peel the lemon and orange, removing the colored part of the skin but not the white pith. Cut the peels in very fine strips, then mince (Reserve fruit for another use). In a large, shallow, glass baking pan, mix citrus zest and salt together and leave uncovered in a warm dry place in the kitchen. Stir a couple of times a day. Let sit at room temperature until the citrus peels are thoroughly dried—this should take about 3 to 5 days.

Once zest is dried in the salt, process in a blender until the citrus is just incorporated. Add the remaining salt and sugar and process again – pulsing a few times. Store in a dry, tightly covered container at room temperature.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

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