I created this cocktail for my entry into this year’s Mionetto Cocktail Competition. Full disclosure: this is an advanced mixology moment that requires a number of tools and techniques that you may not have tried before. The competition challenges us to “Think Orange, Think Bubbly, Think Mionetto.” I wanted to develop a cocktail that celebrated the rich Italian culinary heritage of Aperitivo hour – where you have snacks and drinks before dinner.
Prosciutto and melon is a mainstay of Aperitivo hour as the no-cook recipe combines the salty, fatty deliciousness of prosciutto with the juicy, tropical flesh of cantaloupe. To honour the Italian heritage of Mionetto and parlay this appetizer into cocktail format.
One of the best techniques for making infusions and syrups is using an immersion circulator as it speeds up the dissolution of ingredients that might otherwise take a long time to infuse. While you may be more familiar with the pairing of charcuterie with wine, you can also pair your cured meats and cheeses with spirits. Rye, with its spicy tannic profile pairs beautifully with the fatty, salinity of prosciutto. Keeping this in mind, I used rye as my base spirit but infused it with fatty prosciutto in my immersion circulator.
I blended the melon with a splash of key lime juice to create a cantaloupe purée – fruit purée and sparkling wine are a well-established combination thanks to the popularity of the Bellini. I rounded out the cocktail with a lemony, herbal aperitivo – Affino Aperitivo – and a basil syrup. This combination of flavours accentuates the honey and stone fruit notes from the Mionetto Prosecco and creates a weird, wonderful, and well-rounded cocktail experience.
I’ll find out later today if I qualified for the top 10. In last year’s competition, my Snowcone Sophisticate earned me a berth in the top 10 where I took home the title of “Fan Favourite” with my final round entry, the Peaches & Cream Candy Corn Fizz. The second portion of the competition is a black box round that forces you to use a selection of surprise ingredients and come up with something delicious – like on Chopped.
This year, my understanding is that the final round will be filmed by a camera crew and you’ll have only 10 minutes to come up with a genius cocktail with the black box ingredients. As I normally have plenty of time to master my recipes, this seems like a recipe for a panic attack but I’ll be sure to plan and prepare as best I can if I do advance to the next round.
Wish me luck and try your hand at this Prosciutto, Prosecco e Melone if you’re feeling ambitious!
Prosciutto, Prosecco e Melone
This sparkling cocktail takes inspiration from the Italian culinary tradition of Aperitivo hour and serves up the classic Prosciutto e Melone appetizer in cocktail form. It's a weird and wonderful drink experience.
- 2 oz prosciutto-infused Rittenhouse rye
- ¾ oz cantaloupe & key lime purée
- ¾ oz basil syrup
- ¼ oz affino aperitivo
- 2 oz Mionetto Prosecco
- Garnish: prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe & one basil leaf
- 50 g prosciutto
- 1 cup rittenhouse rye
- ½ cantaloupe peeled & diced
- 1 oz key lime juice
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
Add all ingredients, excluding Mionetto, to a cocktail shaker and shake over ice until well-chilled.
Double strain into a chilled flute glass.
Top with Mionetto Prosecco.
Garnish with prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe wedge and basil leaf skewered on a cocktail pick.
Combine prosciutto and rye in a vacuum-sealed bag and place in water bath with immersion circulator set to 145 degrees F. Cook for 1 hour
Transfer the bag to an ice bath and let cool to room temperature.
Pass the infusion through a fine-mesh sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Transfer to a container, cover and freeze for 24 hours.
Strain again through fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth and funnel into a bottle.
Add diced cantaloupe and key lime juice to a blender and blend on high until smooth.
Combine water, sugar, and basil leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let syrup steep, about 30 minutes.
Pour syrup into a sterilized glass jar through a mesh strainer to remove basil leaves; let cool.