Lindsay Wallace, FRESHFARM Deputy Director of Programs
What better way to savor the end of warm weather produce than with a refreshing cocktail? The next few weeks mark the end of melon season, and we know that many farmers have a glut of cucumbers...for now. So when you're at market this weekend be sure to grab your favorite melon, some cukes, and get (cocktail) shaking!
Makes One Cocktail
2 shots melon juice*
1 shot cucumber-infused vodka**
1/2 shot simple syrup
3/4 shot fresh lime juice
Salt and aleppo pepper for rim
Shaved cucumber ribbon for garnish
Combine salt and aleppo pepper in a small plate with a lip. Dampen the rim of a cocktail glass with a cut lime and put glass upside down into the salt and aleppo pepper plate. Swirl around until you have a nice salt rim on the glass. Put a large ice cube in the glass.
In a shaker or mason jar, combine melon juice, vodka, simple syrup, and lime juice with several ice cubes. Shake vigorously. Strain into cocktail glass, garnish with a ribbon of cucumber, and enjoy.
*To make melon juice: remove rind and cube melon of choice. Put in a blender or food processor and run until completely smooth. Strain through a cheesecloth or fine meshed sieve. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
**To make cucumber-infused vodka: use a vegetable peeler to shave long, thin ribbons of a Persian or English cucumber. Place about half a cucumber in a jar with 1/4 cup vodka and let sit for at least 15 minutes or up to several days in the refrigerator.
This delicious simple syrup can be used to make a blueberry soda or mocktail, or make it a cocktail with vodka or gin, sparkling water, and a squeeze of lemon. A sprig of mint or basil seals the deal. If you find seconds at the market, this is a great place to use them.
1 quart blueberries
2 cups water
2 cups sugar or honey
2 tbsp vodka (optional, to extend shelf life)
Optional additions: fresh mint, basil, or ginger
Wash blueberries and remove any that are too far gone. Place in a medium saucepan with sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very gentle simmer, and if using ginger, add it now. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If using mint or basil, add after removing from the heat.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve and cool thoroughly. Add the vodka once cooled, and refrigerate in an airtight container. Syrup will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks without the vodka, and up to six weeks with it.