Can a cantaloupe be classy? I think so. No, wait. I KNOW so.
The last of the season’s melons had landed in my CSA basket and I stared them down thinking what to do with them. I’d made watermelon ice cubes, and a melon salad, but I wanted to showcase them in a cocktail. Last year I was all a-craze with this watermelon cocktail, the Salty Melon. I was making them by the pitcher with no shame what-so-ever and drinking them, mostly, all by myself. This year I decided on cantaloupe syrup. Surely I would find a cocktail to put it in…
But it sat next to the Dijon mustard for 3 weeks.
3 weeks and maybe a few days. Until a bottle of Dobel Tequila showed up on my doorstep.
As I have been desperately clinging on to daylight as it starts to get cooler here in Los Angeles, one reminder of summer, besides taco trucks, is melon gazpacho. There is something SO refreshing gulping down this sweet and savory soup. I like mine with a little heat, go figure, and a sprinkling of cilantro. So why not spike this melon syrup with a bit of tequila?
1-1/2 oz. Dobel Tequila*
1/2 oz. Cantaloupe Melon Syrup (recipe below)
1/4 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
3 slices of serrano pepper with seeds removed, adjust according to your desired heat levels
cilantro sprig for garnish
In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the pepper slices with lime juice. Add ice, then add in syrup and tequila. Stir for about 30 seconds and then strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
For this cocktail, I wanted to keep the heat to just a flavor and tiny bit of fire. Overpowering the cocktail with too much spice kills the delicate cantaloupe flavors and in turn ruins the drink. The cilantro gives a nice aroma and you can decide whether to drop it in you drink or not. I almost always want more cilantro on everything, personal preference. The drink is well balanced between the earthiness of the tequila, the just-sweet-enough melon syrup, tart lime and touch of spice. The sudden blush refers to the color the drink takes as you pour it, turning a cloudy silver to a peachy blush color with tiny specs of red from the pepper (yours might have tiny green, orange or yellow depending on your pepper).
One word on the garnish. I think the cilantro looks dainty and fragile, Christopher says it looked sad. I think that if we were looking at a bunch of a Ballerinas I would think they looked dainty and he would probably think they were all sad statues.
1/2 cantaloupe, orange flesh only cut into cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
In a nonreactive medium sized sauce pan, combine sugar and water over medium heat. Throw the cantaloupe chunks into the pan and with a potato masher or large fork, crush the melon, breaking it down into the sugar water. You want it to resemble the consistency of a thick soup, with no visible large melon chunks. Bring mixture to a boil and then let simmer over low heat for a half hour. Stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, remove from heat, cover and let cool completely. Fine strain mixture into an airtight bottle. Add 1/2 ounce of vodka if not using entire syrup completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.
*This bottle of Dobel was generously given gratis and appears here because I like drinking it. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.