Those little watermelons you see everywhere in grocery stores this time of year? Turns out they make the perfect vehicle for fancy patio drinks for one. I watched Alton Brown juice a whole watermelon with a hand-held immersion blender, and the next time I saw a stack of mini watermelons I envisioned a coconut or pineapple-style cocktail, only it’s far easier to access the innards of a watermelon, and being 94% water, it blitzes up into juice in a few minutes.
So we gave it a try at Camp Hoo-ha this weekend, and it worked beautifully – we made watermelon-mint mojitos with rum and fresh mint, although you could do margaritas or really any other cocktail you can dream up. I made them again in a segment on BT Calgary on Monday, along with a snacky kind of patio nibble made up of cubed watermelon, olives and feta in a smear of garlicky yogurt.
Everyone loves watermelon-feta salad, and this is kind of a finger food version of it; olives have the same salty brininess as feta, and the creamy garlicky yogurt spread over the platter holds everything in place while acting like a kind of dip. It’s more interesting than a plate of crudités, but just as munchy, and I love the sweet crunch and juiciness of watermelon cubes – it just works so much better than other fruits in this kind of situation.
But the cocktails! Truly – so fun. Cut a hole in the top of a watermelon (I haven’t needed to bother slicing a bit off the bottom to help it not wobble, but you could) and blend the inside with an immersion blender, kind of pushing the flesh down a bit as you go. So easy. I puréed it before adding a small handful of fresh mint and some rum, and blitzing it again just a few times, enough to muddle the mint. You could strain the watermelon juice first and pour it back in, but I like of like it slushy. And stick them in the fridge before you purée for a cold cocktail.
As for the watermelon, feta and olives, you don’t really need a recipe, but here’s a rough guideline. And if you want to discover more uses for all that watermelon, visit the Watermelon Board, who I partnered with for Monday’s segment.