Summer is synonymous with many things. Vacations, warm weather and al fresco dining are part and parcel of many people’s summertime routines.
Another beloved routine is enjoying a cold beverage on a warm summer evening. As summer breezes invite scores of people outside to relax on their patios, decks or balconies, a cold beverage can be just what’s needed to take such relaxing nights one step further. The following recipe for “Summer Cantaloupe” from Andrew Schloss’ “Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits” (Storey Publishing) is easily whipped up and can go a long way toward making summer evenings especially sweet.
Makes about 1 quart
1 fifth (31⁄4 cups) 80-100 proof vodka
4 cups cantaloupe chunks
1 cup Simple Syrup (see below)
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1. Muddle the vodka, cantaloupe and lemon zest with a wooden spoon in a half-gallon jar. Stir to moisten everything.
2. Seal the jar and put it in a cool, dark cabinet until the liquid smells and tastes strongly of melon, four to seven days.
3. Strain the mixture with a mesh strainer into a clean quart jar. Do not push on the solids to extract more
4. Stir in the Simple Syrup.
5. Seal and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Use within one year.
Makes 3 cups
21⁄4 cups water
21⁄4 cups granulated cane sugar
Mix the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is all moistened. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate for up to three months.