Let’s face it, right now we are in the middle of summer. Here in Florida that means it’s HOT. Just walking from your car to the store has you dripping in sweat, and the humidity makes the air so thick you can feel it. Popsicles and ice cream cones don't stand a chance. It’s far from the New England summers I grew up in, where the nights still hold a cool breeze in August. Florida can be brutal during these months. Thankfully, Jacksonville is surrounded by water. During July and August, we Floridians head to the beach as much as possible, get really good at dodging afternoon rain showers, and hibernate in the air conditioning.
This time of year has always brought memories filled with warm sunshine, cool water and sticky nights. Summer started that moment school let out and you had no responsibilities for months. As a kid, growing up in New Hampshire, it meant picking fresh raspberries and blueberries and raiding the veggies in my Grandfather's garden. As an adult, summer seems to start with my taste buds(let's be real I love food). That first sweet, bright red raspberry can lead me right back to 8 year old barefoot self-running around outside under the sun. Nothing beats the first time you cut open a perfectly ripe watermelon. Sweet and juicy- and the perfect aroma of SUMMER!! It makes me crazy happy.
During these sweaty months I tend to crave something fresh, fruity, and cold in my cocktail glass. I had just received a perfect watermelon from Front Porch Pickings in my weekly box, and it was begging to be used for something. If you are local to Jacksonville, look them up, they deliver fresh, local produce and other goods to your doorstep! I have been using them for over a year, and always love what I get. I grabbed a bottle of Carve Vodka and got to mixing. I combined lemon, watermelon, and fresh mint from my garden, to craft the perfect summer drink. Here's what I came up with!
Fresh Watermelon Mint Refresher
11/2 oz of Carve Vodka (or vodka of choice)
***Why did I use Carve Vodka?***
Because its local. Thats why. I try to focus my money and spending on small, local, and quality products. I want to support my fellow entrepreneurs, and Jacksonville residents as much as I can. Carve is gluten free, small batch distilled and Jacksonville's first craft vodka. Please go check them out here and support your local small business.
3 0r 4 cubes of fresh cut watermelon
2 wedges of lemon
4 mint leaves
1/2 oz of Simple Syrup
Here's how it goes. Take the watermelon cubes, mint, lemon, and simple syrup and put them into a tin or a pint glass, something you can mix everything in. Muddle these all together (squish them). Add ice on top of this and then pour in your vodka. now for the fun part.
Shake it like a Polaroid picture!
Pour into tall glass add extra ice and top with a neutral bubbly beverage of choice. I used La Croix Lemon but you can use whatever you want, soda water, sprite, ect.
*Some bartender notes on this one! The harder you shake all the ingredients together with ice, the more the ice breaks down and becomes more of a crushed texture. Adding the extra ice after pouring it into a tall glass will prohibit you from adding too much mixer at the end and watering it down too much. If you don't want all the mint and and lemon peels in the drink itself, simply strain it over a glass of fresh ice.
Another trick is to cube the watermelon and freeze it for 24 hours before you make these cocktails. Muddling the frozen watermelon will give it the texture of a slushy without the mess of a blender!! That’s a Genius life hack if you ask me!