Melon cocktails are both impressive and delicious, especially during the hot days of summer. These refreshing drinks may use fresh melon juice, chunks of watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew, or a melon-flavored liquor. They're all quite tasty and within the recipes, you'll find variations on mojitos, margaritas, daiquiris, and spiked lemonade.
While you can enjoy melon liqueurs like Midori or melon-flavored vodka year-round, there's something to be said about drinks that use the fresh fruit. If you find yourself with leftover melon this summer, use it as an excuse to mix up some great drinks.
Fresh Melon Juice
No matter the variety, melons are filled with juicy goodness and it is very easy to extract the sweet juice. The easiest way to do so is to simply muddle a few chunks of melon at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Strain out any seeds and unwanted pulp and you're ready to mix the juice into a cocktail.
Another option is to de-seed pieces of melon and to process them in an electric juicer or blender. The latter will produce more of a puree, but it works surprisingly well for the majority of drinks. You can also run the puree through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer to remove more of the pulp.
Juicing any leftover melon is a perfect way to preserve the fruit after your summer picnics. Simply bottle the juice under a tight seal and store it in the refrigerator. Be sure to drink it up within a week.
For long-term storage, freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Once they're solid, pop them out and store them in a freezer bag. These melon cubes are a great substitute for regular ice.
Fresh Watermelon Cocktail Recipes
Watermelon is the most popular variety used in cocktails. They make a nice palate cleanser after a hearty meal and are a perfectly refreshing way to cool down on a summer day. Mix up these delicious watermelon cocktails and use them as inspiration for creating your own recipes.
Fresh Honeydew and Cantaloupe Cocktails
Honeydew and cantaloupe melons are not as common in cocktails. However, there are some impressive recipes that use these melons, even if it is just as a garnish.
Melon Balls and Garnishes
More often than not, honeydews and cantaloupes are used as a garnish for subtle flavor enhancement. A melon baller is an essential tool for creating perfect little balls to float in your drink or add to a skewer.
While you have a whole melon in the house, take a few minutes to create a bunch of melon balls. They can be frozen and used as ice cubes as well. The best way to do this so they don't stick together is to flash freeze the melon balls.
- Lay the melon balls inside a shallow baking dish in a single layer.
- Freeze them for two or three hours.
- Once they're solid, toss them into a freezer bag and take out a few whenever you're making a drink.
Watermelon wedges make great garnishes as well. The green rind and red flesh look fabulous on the rim of a glass. If you're out of room to cut rind, cut the watermelon into small cubes, add them to a skewer and rest that on the glass.
When cutting wedges, make sure they're small and thin. They need to be an appropriate size for the glassware, so keep them around an inch or two. These can also be frozen and used later, using the same flash-freezing method recommended for melon balls.
Midori is, by far, the most popular and well-known melon-flavored liquor and there are a number of cocktails that call for the electric-green liquor. Other melon distilled spirits are available as well.
Bols makes both a green-colored melon and red-colored watermelon liqueur. The green version can serve as a substitute for Midori.
If you are looking for something that is far more tart, DeKuyper's Watermelon Pucker will fit the bill. It's a fun liqueur to mix with and the signature ingredient in this gummi bear margarita.
Most of the time, if a recipe calls for an unbranded "melon liqueur," it is implied that you will use a green-colored liquor. This is particularly true if the drink name alludes to the color green, which a number of them do.
You will also find quite a few cocktail recipes that call for a melon vodka. It's a popular flavor and a handful of commercial brands are available, or you can make your own. Melon-infused vodka or a drunken watermelon is fun for summer parties and easy. If you like, you can use rum as well.