Friday, May 26, 2017

Mocktail: Spicy Sandia

Spicy Sandia Mocktail

It might be late May, but it doesn't feel like summer in Boston yet. We got a brief taste of seasonally-appropriate (or even seasonally extreme) weather when it hit ninety degrees for two days last week, and I ran out and bought herbs and vegetables for my garden thinking that the warm weather had finally arrived. But then it promptly returned to fifty degrees and raining. At least I don't need to water the plants. I'm not exactly in a hurry to get to sweltering heat, but a few days in the seventies certainly wouldn't be unwelcome.

Spicy Sandia Mocktail

While this mocktail is more ideal for sipping on the porch in the summer heat, its color and spice certainly brightened up my rainy day. One of the biggest challenges to mocktail recipes, I've found, is finding ingredients that make up for the liquid volume usually taken up by alcohol. There's a reason you see a ton of drinks made with club soda and ginger beer - they're easy add-ins. Things like tonic water, shrubs, fruit juices, and teas are other good options. When brainstorming ingredients for this purpose, it occurred to me that watermelon would be a fantastic addition to a mocktail - colorful, subtly sweet, and very juicy. And so this ode to a margarita was born. It's ridiculously tasty and extremely refreshing. I added some jalapeño for a kick and some smoked salt on the rim for a bit of extra flavor and aroma. Smoked salt isn't something I've used before, but it's an amazing rimmer for cocktails. Look for it at your grocery store with the organic spices.

Booze it up: One word: tequila.

Spicy Sandia Mocktail

Spicy Sandia

8 1-inch cubes watermelon
2-4 thin slices jalapeño pepper (depending on spiciness and how you like it)
1 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. agave nectar
1 oz. club soda
Smoked salt, for rim

To prepare the glass, rum the rim or exterior of a rocks glass with a wedge of lime and roll it in smoked salt. Fill the glass with ice. Combine watermelon and jalapeño in the bottom of a shaker and muddle well to extract the juices from the watermelon and incorporate the spice from the pepper. Add lime juice and agave nectar. Fill the shaker with ice and shake until chilled. Fine-strain into the prepared glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a slice of watermelon and a wedge of lime.

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