When Ned and Michelle Lawton bought a small heirloom apple farm outside Sebastopol in 2013, the previous owners hadn’t spent much energy on upkeep — ‘organic by neglect’ is how Ned describes the orchard. But they couldn’t ignore the promise of the fruit that came from those old trees.
Melons have more concentrated sweetness than other fruits and a distinct funky undertone that really pairs well with alcohol. A good melon liqueur can turn basic club soda into a sophisticated summer cooler or add another layer to a complex tiki drink.
2 cups chopped cantaloupe (about half a melon)
1 1/2 cups vodka
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Combine chopped melon and vodka in a glass jar. Seal and shake, then et mixture steep for 3 days at room temperature. Strain fruit out, pressing down to extract liquid. Filter mixture through a coffee filter or through two layers of cheesecloth. Boil sugar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Let syrup cool. Combine syrup with the melon infusion. Seal in bottle or jar, then shake to mix. Let rest for a minimum of one day. Store in the refrigerator for up to two months.