Summer is the season of weddings, picnics and watermelons. So far this summer, I’ve had a wedding (Vogue-worthy destination affair in Marrakech), bachelorette weekend in Montreal, flawless bridal shower. Up next I have: a wedding in Prince Edward County, another here in Ottawa, my 30th birthday weekend and then a few weekends off before a September wedding.
I am very excited to be celebrating so many of my friends this summer. It does seem to make the summer go by rather quickly though when your weekends are fully booked with festivities. Sometimes you just want to achieve a vegetative state on a beach, with a book and a water bottle full of a refreshing summer cocktail.
Watermelon is just the thing for such an occasion. This drink can be made in individual servings, or you could whip up a pitcher cocktail to minimize your return visits to the bar and tiring your biceps with all that vigorous shaking. Basically making drinks with a cocktail shaker is like using icy cold shake weights.
Making this in a single portion does require some seriously energetic shaking to pulverize the chopped watermelon into juice. With the pitcher version of the cocktail, you can outsource all the calorie-burning output to your blender.
The thing I find most challenging about weddings is deciding what to wear. I have no idea what I’m going to wear to any of these upcoming celebrations. For the record, I’m not the kind of person that operates on a capsule wardrobe. I probably have 30 dresses for such occasions but just have such a time deciding which, if any, of them I want to actually wear.
Luckily I have a few girlfriends who wear a similar size, so we sometimes shop each other’s closets to still get that new dress feeling, without having to shell out hundreds of dollars in the process.
Plus, when you shop your friend’s closet, you can drink while doing it. Another bonus: not having to contend with pushy salespeople. Basically, the whole thing is win-win. In exchange for free dress rental, I’ll treat my generous friends to some easy-sipping cocktails, like this one.
Comprised of fresh watermelon, lemon juice, simple syrup and gin – this Watermelon Refresher is perfect in its simplicity.
If you’re wondering how I created the geometric garnish, it’s pretty easy. I sliced the watermelon into a wedge and cut off the rind to create a triangle. From there, I used a paring knife to cut a smaller triangle out of the centre of the wedge, popped it out of the middle and voilà! If your triangle is big enough, and you’re using larger ice cubes, as I have here, you should be able to balance it on the lip of the glass and tuck in some fresh mint. Alternatively, you could use a cocktail pin through the width of the watermelon to keep it perched at the top of your drink.
To a cocktail shaker, add the juice of ½ lemon, ½ oz simple syrup, 1 cup roughly chopped seedless watermelon flesh and 1½ oz gin. Add as much ice as will fit, shake sharply and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a wedge of watermelon.
To a blender, add 2 cups water and 5 cups chopped seedless watermelon. Blend until finely puréed and pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Add ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¾ cup simple syrup and 1 cup gin. Stir to combine and serve over ice garnished with a wedge of watermelon.
Recipe very slightly adapted from: St. Onge, Christopher. "Watermelon Squeeze." Food and Drink. Summer 2011.