Today we’ll be discussing two of my favorite words in the English language: drink and summer. You see, my days of closing down the bar have come and gone (apparently along with sleeping in past 6am, and having a full head of hair). And while I love a good nightcap as much as the next guy, I’m a day drinker at heart. Set me out back in a hammock on a warm summer day, ballgame on the radio, and a cocktail in hand, and I’m one happy camper. Extra points if that cocktail has pickled watermelon rind, fresh herbs, and sotol!! Well, what do you know, that’s exactly what I’m mixing up for you today. If you couldn’t already tell, today we’re celebrating #drinkthesummer 2016 (links below), where dozens of creative imbibers are offering an abundance of seasonal drink recipes that showcase summer’s bounty in lovely liquid form. No disrespect to the stone fruits and the berries out there, but summer is all about watermelon in our house. Here, sweet watermelon juice and agave are countered with tart bursts of pickled rind and lime. A chiffonade of fresh mint and cilantro add depth, all punctuated by a nice earthy sotol . . . perfect for summer sipping if you ask me! Again, don’t forget to check out all the other yummy summer drink links below. A special thanks to Sherrie from With Food + Love for organizing!!

Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER

Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER

Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER
Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER
Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER
Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER
Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER
Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER
Watermelon, Fresh Herbs, & Sotol Cocktail | HonestlyYUM (honestlyyum.com) #DRINKTHESUMMER

WATERMELON, FRESH HERBS, & SOTOL COCKTAIL

Ingredients:

   For the cocktail

  • 2 oz sotol
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz light agave syrup
  • 2 oz watermelon juice
  • 6 pieces pickled watermelon rind
  • 1 mint sprig, de-stemmed and chiffonaded
  • 2 cilantro sprigs, de-stemmed and chiffonaded

   For the pickled watermelon rind

  • 1 inch stick of ginger, peeled
  • 1 star anise
  • rind + 1/2 inch of red flesh from half of a small watermelon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

   For the pickled watermelon rind

  • Start by cutting the rind off of the watermelon. Try your best to leave some some of the red flesh on the rid. Carefully remove the green skin from the rind, then cut the rind into 3/4 inch chunks.
  • Add the ginger, star anise, sugar, vinegar, water, and salt to a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the watermelon rind and simmer for about a minute.
  • Remove from heat and add to a heat-proof container to cool. Once cool, seal and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving, and up to one week.

   For the cocktail

  • Add the ciffonade of mint and cilantro, pickled watermelon rind, lime juice, agave syrup, and sotol to the bottom of a mixing glass. Top with ice and quickly shake for 5 seconds.
  • Pour the entire contents of the shaker into a highball glass. Add watermelon juice, and top with more ice as needed.

DRINK THE SUMMER 2016 PARTY PEOPLE:

BOOZY

   With Food + Love | Basil Fig Vodka Smash
   A Little Saffron | Beach Bum’s Rum
   A Thought For Food | Tarragon Tequlia Swizzle
   Heart of a Baker | Green Tea Mint Cooler
   Hungry Girl por Vida | Whisky Peach Alexander
   Hummingbird High | Watermelon and Mint Agua Fresca
   Floating Kitchen | Peach Sun Tea and Bourbon Cocktail
   Beard and Bonnet | Melon Mojito
   Appeasing a Food Geek | Basil and Black Pepper Gin Sour
   Vegetarian Ventures | Garden Tonic Punch
   Domesticate ME! | Watermelon-Basil Mezcal Margarita
   The Foodie Nurse | Husk Cherry Margarita
   Wicked Spatula | Coconut Gin and Tonic
   Nutritionist in the Kitch | Healthy Muddled Blackberry Pina Coladas
   Chocolate + Marrow | Pequito Verdecito
   The Solstice Table | Jalapeno Watermelon Cooler
   Seasonal Cravings | Strawberry Lime Gin Rickey
   Salted Plains | Frozen Honeydew Daiquiris
   The Broken Bread | Honeydew-Ginger Apricot Mojitos
   Fix Feast Flair | Ginger-Berry Splash Cocktail
   Turntable Kitchen | Summer Cooler Cocktails, Two Ways
   Dessert for Two | Salty Melon Slush

NOT BOOZY

   Heartbeet Kitchen | Salty Watermelon Shrub Elixir
   TENDING the TABLE | Raspberry and Fig Hibiscus Cooler
   Gratitude and Greens | Hong Kong Style Crushed Watermelon Ice
   My Heart Beets | Spiced Pistachio Shake
   rooting the sun | Strawberry Fennel Soda
   The Modern Proper | Vanilla Bean Plum Shrub
   Gourmande in the Kitchen | Stone Fruit Thyme Shrub Soda
   I am a Food Blog | Cherry Vanilla Sodas
   Tasty Yummies | Fig Vanilla Bean Almond Milk
   Let’s talk evergreen | Iced Earl Grey Yuanyang With a Hint of Rose
   Kale & Caramel | Emerald Beaut Green Spritzer
   The Pig & Quill | Brown Sugar Blueberry Pie Shakes
   Well and Full | Peach Bubble Tea

 

(images by HonestlyYUM; pickled watermelon rind recipe adapted from Momofuku)