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Tag Archives: watermelon

Monday, May 30, 2011

First, a little history.  A number of years ago, while I was living in St. Louis, my good buddy Andy invited me to head on out to Montgomery County, MO for a night of dirt track racing, good food and drinking.  How could I resist? 

To make a long story short, the night was long on drinking and short on most everything else.  The next morning we made for three hungover hombres.  I asked Andy what he had for breakfast…and the answer was bacon and a watermelon.  Oh, and nothing else to drink (the camp didn’t have potable water).  So, bacon and watermelon it was!

Ever since then Andy and I have joked about a watermelon bacon cocktail.  Yesterday I decided to try my hand at it (creating the pictured mess in the process!).

I early in the morning by infusing a 1/2 later of vodka with slices of bacon (yes, it was cooked!).  I let the bacon sit in the vodka for about 6 hours and then put it in the freezer.  The objective here was to get the fat from the bacon to solidify.  After a couple of hours in the freezer I pulled it out and strained it, leaving myself with a slightly brownish, bacon tasting vodka.  To say that the flavor was unusual would be an understatement.  It did taste like bacon and vodka, but the aroma was less than enticing.  But I didn’t let that stop me!

Next up was the watermelon.  I pureed several cups of fresh cut, seedless watermelon.  Then with my trusty sidekick Greg at my side I went to work.  The first iteration was 1 oz of the bacon vodka, 1 oz white rum, 1/2 an egg white, 3 oz watermelon puree, 1/2 lime juiced and 1/8 oz of peach liqueur.  How was it?  Well, it was drinkable, but the peach actually drowned out the watermelon while the bacon as a little too heavy handed.  Not a keeper.

For the second iteration I dropped the rum and replaced it with 1 oz of vodka.  I also upped the watermelon to 4oz, kept the egg white, dropped the peach and added 1/8 oz of bar syrup (still with me?).  This was better, but still … funky.  While I was getting the creamy head I wanted from the egg white the whole thing was still disjointed and light on the watermelon flavor. 

In the next iteration I cut the bacon vodka down to 1/2 oz, used 2 oz vodka, 4 oz of watermelon puree and 1/4 oz bar syrup.  Now I was getting somewhere.  The bar syrup was helping to pull the cocktail into balance and the watermelon and bacon flavors were also well proportioned.  At Greg’s suggestion I opened up the liquor cabinet, looking for a flavored liqueur to add, hoping that this would be the final piece of the puzzle.  After several sniffs of a number of options, I settled on maraschino liqueur.  I added just 1/8 oz to the above proportions.  Yes, we have a winner!  The hint of cherry flavor from the maraschino liqueur was just what I needed to take the flavor load from falling completely to the bacon and watermelon.  Both, however, were clearly present, with the maraschino providing a very nice flavor base.

  Montgomery County

  • 1/2 oz homemade bacon infused vodka
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 4 oz watermelon puree
  • 1/4 oz bar syrup
  • 1/8 oz maraschino liqueur

Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice.  Shake, shake, shake to chill and combine.  Strain into a chilled 6 oz cocktail glass.  Garnish with a watermelon chunk.

Whew!  It was messy and took a lot of tries, but I think I finally got it.  Andy, this one’s for you!

April 25, 2011 – Toledo, OH

Ok, stepping back a bit here, to Monday, April 25th.  One of my new colleagues took me to The Attic on Adams for dinner and a couple of cocktails.  Dive bar was the first description that came to mind as we walked up the outdoor stairs to the Attic.  It’s situated on Adams Street above Mano’s Greek Restaurant.  A large bar open to both sides of the room dominated the main bar area and there’s also a pool table in a side room.  New twists on traditional pub fare were on the menu, but what really caught my eye were the homemade infused vodkas.

Now I know, and before you go all postal on me, yes, I usually don’t like flavored vodkas.  But when it’s homemade flavored vodka, all bets are off.  And the Attic’s vodkas are both good and creative!  At the suggestion of our bartender, the effervescent Amelia, I started with a homemade apple – watermelon infused vodka that was served with lemonade and ginger ale, garnished with a lime.

  

Delicious is the only way to describe this cocktail.  Light, refreshing with the apple and watermelon clearly coming through.  It was fruity without being sweet and the kind of cocktail I could drink all day by the pool during the summer.  Amelia was dead on with this one!

Since she did such a good job with the first I was ready to follow her recommendation for the second cocktail of the evening.  This drink featured the Attic’s homemade salsa vodka.  That’s right, salsa vodka.  It was vodka infused with tomato, garlic, jalapeno, onion and cilantro.  It is served with pineapple juice and just a splash of lime juice and orange juice.

Damn, this was fantastic!  I wanted to grab a bowl of tortilla chips and dig in!  The salted rim (done at my suggestion) really finished off the presentation of this cocktail.  It truly tasted like liquid salsa – with a punch! 

If you find yourself near downtown Toledo, take the time to find the Attic and try one of their homemade flavored vodkas.  You won’t be disappointed.  I know they’ve inspired me to try some of my own this summer.