Celebrating National Watermelon Day

Photo by Christopher Hirsheimer & Melissa Hamilton

We’ve been alerted to the fact that today is National Watermelon Day.

Now we’re not sure just who’s proclaimed this; we know for sure it’s not a Federal holiday that closes down our nation’s legislative bodies, but who can complain about another excuse in the middle of summer to enjoy watermelon? Not us!

Of course at INSIDE F&B we think every day should be enjoy what you like to eat and drink day, but today, in honor of the watermelon, we bring you some refreshing cocktail recipes using Cachaça, Blue Coat Gin, and Bols Genever. We’re pairing these with a tempting grilled watermelon and Manouri recipe from Chef Michael Psilakis’ book “How to Roast a Lamb.”

Karpouzi Kai Manouri Stin Schara (Grilled Watermelon & Grilled Manouri)

12 ounces manouri, very cold
1 ½ pounds seedless watermelon, in two 1-inch-thick, center-cut slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
20 leaves fresh mint
20 picked sprigs dill
Sea salt

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill until hot.

Cut the Manouri into two 1-inch-thick circles.
Trim the rind from the watermelon rounds and cut into large pie-shaped wedges, about 5 inches on the longer sides.
Brush the watermelon and the manouri with a little olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper.
Grill the watermelon wedges and the manouri rounds just until slightly char-marked on both sides.
Transfer to a platter and cut the manouri into wedges about the same size as the watermelon. Drizzle with a little more olive oil.
Scatter with the mint leaves, dill sprigs, and a little sea salt.
Grind a little pepper over the top.
*For an extra bit of tanginess, scatter with a few drops of aged or reduced balsamic vinegar.

By H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir, San Francisco

1 ½ oz Bluecoat Gin
¾ oz black pepper honey syrup
1 oz watermelon juice
½ oz lemon juice

Use organic ingredients wherever possible.

Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker full of ice and shake well for 10 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish on the rim with a small watermelon cube that has a coating of black pepper on one side.

Melancia Sour
By Kevin Deidrich of The Burritt Room, San Francisco

1 1/2 oz Cachaça
1/2 oz lemongrass syrup
1/2 oz lime juice
1 1/2 oz watermelon juice

Stir and strain into a chilled sour glass
Pinch of sea salt and lemongrass stalk as garnish

Gallagher Cocktail
By Jacob Grier, winner of the Oregon Bartender’s Guild Summer Competition 2009

2 oz Bols Genever
1 oz watermelon juice
3/4 oz lime juice
½ oz Swedish punsch***

Shake first four ingredients with ice, strain into ice-filled Collins glass, top with soda, and garnish with pickled watermelon rind.

*** 9 oz. lapsang souchong syrup (equal parts lapsang souchong tea and sugar)
6 oz. Batavia Arrack

3 oz. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg

Seeds from 10 cardamom pods, ground
Let steep overnight and then strain into a bottle. Adapted from Max Toste’s recipe.

*** Too lazy for prep? Just grab a knife, maybe a salt cellar if you’re feeling bold, and plenty of napkins.