Today is the Autumnal Equinox and I am making a point to enjoy all twelve hours of daylight ~ as it begins to wane from here on out. And don’t even get me started about what happens when we change from daylight savings back to standard time. Fortunately I have a stash of summer in my freezer and am going to make use of it for this evening’s cocktail to toast summers’ end.
I have perfected my version of the Watermelon Mojito 🙂 . I make a sort of frozen watermelon sorbet and use that as the muddling base for the drink. In my experience, most drinks with watermelon lack any depth of flavor ~ even starting with good, flavorful watermelon the taste tends to get flat and watery. You do have to plan ahead to make the frozen base, but the result is worth it ~ or in my case, just keep it stocked in the freezer at all times!
First cut up some watermelon chunks, remove seeds and purée until mostly liquified, then push through a large sieve/strainer to remove most of the solids and keep the liquid. Then I sweeten to taste with simple syrup, and add a pinch of salt to about each 8 oz. of juice ~ you should not really be able to taste the salt, it should just enhance the flavor. My favorite way to store is in these 8 oz. Ball Freezer Jars, which are special plastic storage containers for the freezer. I use them for lots of things, but especially for frozen fruit and citrus juice to make drinks.
Once the watermelon juice freezes, it can be scooped out for drinks as needed and then recapped for continued freezer storage. The pinch of salt both enhances the flavor and keeps the juice from freezing hard ~ it’s sort of an icy sorbet consistency. For one drink, scoop out 2-3 tablespoons into your cocktail shaker, add 6-8 mint leaves and 4 lime quarters (that’s 1 round slice cut into 4 small quarter pieces). Break up the lime and mint with a spoon or muddler, bruising it enough to release the juice and aromas. have some different muddling tools, but my favorite is the basic wooden muddler ~ it crushes without pulverizing.
Add a stiff shot of white rum and a few ice cubes to the cocktail shaker, cover and give it the shake, shake, shake for about 20 shakes. Pour into your glass with ice ~ no need to strain as you want all the mint and lime in your drink. The frozen watermelon base combined with the rum makes the drink icy, but not frozen. Top off with club soda and you have a taste of summer in a glass.
While the days get shorter and colder, as long as I can find a sunny window, put on some island music and enjoy a summer time drink, I can get through until the Winter Solstice and we start to gain back our daylight hours. It was a great summer with our Islamorada get-away and deserves to be toasted out in style.
Here’s to ya Summer 2012 ~ clink, clink ~~~