Melon season has arrived. Usually when you think of melon in cocktails, you think of Midori. Which Christa doesn’t like, and Shaun is indifferent. Which is interesting since Shaun doesn’t like actual melon and Christa loves it. But who can say. Anyhow, seen as they’re now in season we thought it would interesting to see if we could make some cocktails with melon juice other than watermelon, since you don’t see that a lot.
First up we juiced a Charentaise melon (kind of like a cantaloupe, but sweeter and less musky. Use cantaloupe if that’s easier) by whomping it up in a food processor and then straining it through a fine meshed strainer. We then started pairing it up with different base spirits. We figured aged spirits wouldn’t go nicely, but on a whim we tried some cognac first. Turns out we were wrong. It actually paired quite nicely and makes us think we should try some others. But with that one proving to be tasty we set it to the side and then started trying some clear spirits. Gin and vodka seemed like gimmes so we tried pisco and blanco tequila. Both were quite tasty if a bit different. The floral notes of the pisco paired quite nicely whereas the tequila had some lovely dusty notes. We flipped a coin and decided to experiment more with the pisco. It definitely needed some acid. We pulled out a grapefruit which helped but still wasn’t quite what we wanted. A little bit of lime juice helped amp things up. Finally for some depth we doubled down on the grapefruit with some grapefruit bitters. Perfect!
- 2 oz melon juice
- 1 1/2 oz pisco
- 1 1/2 oz grapefruit juice
- 1/4 oz lime juice
- 1 dash grapefruit bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into a glass.
- Nose: Fruity melon like fruit punch. Grapefruit and roses.
- Palate: Sweet melon and lime to start. Grapefruit, floral and grape on the mid-palate. Finish is very clean and dry with some cucumber notes. Fruity but not particularly sweet. Very light and refreshing with out being overly perfume-y from the melon. Yum!
The Zhonnie turned out quite nicely in our opinions, light and very easily drinkable (perhaps a little too drinkable if you know what we mean.) With one drink behind us we returned to the cognac. Whereas the pisco brought out the more floral notes of the melon, the cognac brought forth more spice and vegetal flavors. Once again we needed some more acid to brighten up the melon’s sweetness, and lime juice came to our rescue. To add depth, we tried various bitters but they muddied things too much. A bit of amaro helped add some great depth and richness as well as a hint of bitterness. On a whim we decided to try some cherry bitters after the amaro (we had been trying aromatic bitters before), and they were definitely additive. With that we had drink #2.
- 2 oz melon juice
- 1 1/2 oz cognac
- 1/2 oz Averna
- 1/4 oz lime juice
- 1 dash cherry bitters
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass.
- Nose: Melon, burnt sugar and root beer.
- Palate: Very light bodied. Very front loaded drink like its predecessor. Lots of strong flavors to start and then it trails off. Right at the front really bright melon, caramel, root beer, and oak spice. Mid-palate is much gentler, mild lime and cherry with the oak spice carrying through. Finish is slight herbal notes and vegetal notes with some faint bitterness. Cherry carries into the finish, which is much fainter and drier than the intro. Cognac aftertaste.
Another rather drinkable summer cocktail. Light, not too heavy on the alcohol but a lot going on with some nice flavors and a decent amount of depth.
Overall we’d say our experimentation with melon was a rousing success. Two very nice cocktails and a desire to pair melon juice with other things to see how it works out. We also discovered that Shaun likes melon as long as it’s paired with booze. Go figure. Breakfast of champions? So go out there, juice up some melons and do some experimentation of your own. Until next time, cheers!