If there’s one thing you will always find on my counter or kitchen table in the summer, it’s a watermelon – the bigger the better. Like a basket of apples in the fall, or pumpkins in winter, it’s an iconic part of our ever-changing “kitchen table still life.” I will let it sit there, getting riper by the second in the afternoon heat while I admire its variegated jade and emerald skin, until someone reminds me that I really should cut it so that we can enjoy it with more than just our eyes. And then the boasting starts. Who can eat the most? Who will take the title of Watermelon Master? This contest is almost always initiated by my husband, Rich, who claims to be able to eat the entire watermelon in one sitting. I don’t doubt that he would, if given the chance, but it’s an accolade that the kids are not willing to let him have. While I certainly don’t condone these brutish, gluttonous brag-fests, I have to admit, they’re wildly entertaining.
Everyone has their own way of reducing this ruby and emerald orb to a pile of rinds destined for the compost bin. Rich cuts his into cubes, places them in a (big) bowl and tops with a generous sprinkling of fleur de sel. Eva, always dainty and refined, eats hers from a little dessert plate with an even littler spoon. Connor, who I’m certain could out-eat his father in a watermelon eating contest if given the chance, eats his like an animal, straight from the rind, juices dripping down his chin and arms (outside, of course, so he doesn’t drip on the floor). My preferred method? It involves the blender and a bit of Barbados rum.
It’s been a while since I made cocktails and I was craving a mojito, in part because there’s a large pot of mint outside the kitchen door which releases the most enticing aroma each time I go in or out. And what pairs better with mint than watermelon? It’s the perfect summer apéritif.
This drink couldn’t be easier! It comes together entirely in the blender. The recipe is written for two, but can easily be increased to make mojitos for a party.
(For 2 drinks)
800g (1 3/4 lbs) watermelon
1/2 cup (118 ml) Barbados rum
the juice of 1 lime
10 -12 torn mint leaves
3 TBSP vanilla sugar
sparkling water, to top
In a blender, combine the watermelon, rum, lime juice, torn mint leaves and sugar. Pulse for a few seconds until the watermelon is thoroughly blended. Pour into glasses. Add ice and top each glass with a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired, and serve.