This sparkler is the perfect addition to a warm day summer day at the lake or an evening barbecue. Add your favorite bubbly to this refreshing drink just before serving. If you prefer a nonalcoholic version, use a zingy ginger ale. Be sure to fully peel the cucumber before blending; otherwise, the green skin will turn your delightfully pink drink into a not-so delightful brown.
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 6 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 4 cups chilled sparkling wine or ginger ale
- Combine water and sugar in a small pot. Place over medium low heat until water starts to boil and sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
- Once sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Add mint leaves and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard mint.
- Place half of watermelon and cucumber in a blender with ½ cup of cooled mint syrup. Puree on high for 1 minute.
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher. Repeat with remaining melon, cucumber, and syrup; stir in lemon juice.
- Chill for 2 hours. Serve mixture in a cocktail glasses topped with ½ cup sparkling wine or ginger ale. Serve immediately.
Featured Ingredient: Watermelon
Watermelon is the fruit icon of summertime: seed-spitting contests, cold slices eaten by the pool, juicy flesh pureed and used to flavor lemonade or cocktails. It's hard to beat the sweet, juicy crispness of watermelon on a hot day. Full of water (so it's good for keeping you hydrated), watermelon is also packed with potassium and vitamins A and C. If you plan to grow your own watermelon, you'll need to dedicate a fair amount of room, as the melons grow on ground-crawling vines. It's worth giving up some space, though, as the sweetness of a home-grown melon cannot be beat! Let us teach you how to grow watermelon in your own garden this summer.Article by Julianna K. Grimes, owner of Black Sheep Kitchen in Birmingham, AL.