DIY Melon Liqueur

diymelonliqueur

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.

Melon Liqueur
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.

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column.

Jimadores: The Unsung Heroes of Tequila

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While the tequila industry has been through many changes, the way the agave is harvested has remained the same for several centuries. Skilled workers called jimadores have been using the same tools and methods for generations. Without them, tequila production simply wouldn’t be possible.

I found out what goes into harvesting PatrĂ³n Tequila for Tales of the Cocktail.

Melon Cocktails

watermelonrumcocktailSummer time is melon time! So find a melon and put it into your cocktails. Here are a few summery melon cocktail recipes to try.

Hendricks & Honeydew ~ It’s basically a gin & tonic with melon … which sounds like a good idea to me! (You can use your favorite gin, but this one is good with a light, floral gin)

Cantaloupe Margarita ~ A blended margarita amped up with the power of cantaloupe. I’m in.

Melon & Mint Mojito ~ This recipe uses honeydew and cantaloupe for extra melon flavor.

Watermelon & Thai Chili ~ Watermelon and a little heat go well together in this rum cocktail.

Minty Melon ~ Honeydew, cucumber, and mint balance well with tequila for a refreshing summer cocktail.

Cocktails Using Fruit Shrubs

mango-chili shrub cocktail

The Hellcat Years made with mango-chili shrub from 10th Kitchen

My yard is overflowing with fruit …so this summer is going to be shrub time! A shrub is a great way to preserve fruit. It’s kind of like a syrup made with vinegar, which you can use in cocktails or sparkling water (among other uses). Before I get to making my own shrubs and sharing the recipes, here are some cocktails made with different kind of shrubs. See what a shrub can do!

Blackberry-Ginger Shrub Old Fashioned ~ Dressing up an old fashioned with a little blackberry and ginger sounds perfect for warm summer nights.

Strawberry Shrub Collins ~ Gin and strawberries are best friends. So it stands to reason that a collins made with a strawberry shrub is going to be great.

Apple Shrub Cocktail ~ Not to brag, but I am drowning in apples. I just might need to shrub them up for this applejack and nocino cocktail.

Tangy Cranberry-Black Pepper Shrub Cocktail ~ Sparkling wine gets a kick out of cranberries and black pepper. This would be great for Thanksgiving (bookmarked!).

The Hellcat Years ~ Mango-Chili Shrub sounds amazing. Pairing it with cachaca sounds genius.

Shiso Cocktails

Shiso cocktail

Shiso Unusual from Liquor.com

Shiso is one of my favorite herbs to grow, and this year my garden is overflowing with it. Also known as perilla leaves, their flavor is similar to a basil-mint combination … very fresh and light. I grew the purple variety this year, but there’s also a green one. Both taste great in cocktails. Here are a few to try!

Shiso Mojito ~ An herb that tastes like a cross between basil and mint? Mojito is the first thing that comes to mind!

Spicy Shiso Smash ~ Shiso muddled with spicy Thai red chile and slices of cucumber are the perfect complement to rum and lime in this summer cocktail.

Shiso Unusual ~ This play on the Mint Julep is made with rye and cognac with two kinds of bitters for a deep and (yes) unusual drink.

Shiso-Jito Recipe ~ Candied ginger and citrus vodka are a fun way to highlight shiso’s fresh flavor.

Shiso Martinis ~ Infusing vodka with shiso leaves gives you a whole new, exciting spirit to work with.