Monday, September 17, 2012

Watermelon Lime Mint Punch

Although the weather is easing into fall, watermelon is still making appearances at farmers markets and end-of-the-season outdoor parties. Now, have you ever noticed that it's nearly impossible to eat a whole watermelon, or even for that matter, a half-size one? It's fun to eat, but hard to finish off all that volume. Even after dinners with friends, there are leftover pieces that languish in my fridge.
So this watermelon punch is a great solution to the watermelon problem. It's light and refreshing and a little sweet, and depending on how much seltzer you add, a little bubbly. I served it straight up in a pitcher at the double birthday party, so our pregnant friend and anyone else who desired could have some non-alcoholic fun to drink. For the rest of us, a shot of gin or vodka was the perfect accompaniment in our punch glass.
The ingredients below are rough guidelines -- you can take liberties as long as it tastes good. At a party last weekend, the host served a variation that also involved infused cucumber and St. Germain. I do recommend fresh lime juice (even though I admit to using bottled juice because that was also sitting in the fridge needing to be used up). Note that it freezes just fine, so you could freeze half to take a little bit of summer with you into the fall.
Watermelon Lime Mint Punch
half a large watermelon
1 handful of fresh mint
3 tbsp lime juice (about 3 or 4 limes)
seltzer
vodka or gin (optional)

Chop the watermelon into large chunks, removing the rind and any large seeds. Blend it with the mint and lime juice until smooth. You could strain it if you want to be extra classy, but it's not necessary. At this point, you can choose to store it in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for a few weeks. When you're ready to serve, mix the punch with seltzer, which thins it out and brightens it up. You want about 1 part seltzer to 1-2 parts watermelon. Add a shot of vodka or gin to each glass for a nice cocktail.

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