My sister says a good cook is one who can whip up dinner out of whatever is in the cupboards — and she doesn't mean a can of Campbell's. Recently stuck with a cocktail craving, only a few ingredients in the house, and no energy to go out and buy stuff, I tried to make my sister proud. At my disposal: a little wedge of watermelon and a bottle of Sauza gold tequila.
Then, I poured about a shot of Sauza over ice in a juice glass, filled it almost the rest of the way with the fresh watermelon puree, and topped it off with soda water. (Sodastream!) It was the brightest pink drink I have ever made — and absolutely delicious. I drained it rather quickly.
With the watermelon juice waning I had a friend coming over for a drink stop by the store for another watermelon wedge, and maybe a cucumber.
Inspired by their "superior" quality, he also grabbed some limes. He found my original watermelon-tequila combination a little sweet, so we added lime juice (about 2 parts watermelon to 1 part lime) and it tasted like a liquid Jolly Rancher. (Watermelon flavor, of course.)
For our final variation, we wanted something a little more subtle, so we went halfsies in the blender with chunks of watermelon and peeled cucumber. (That peeler, it should be noted, came from Joe Ades, the late, beloved "peeler man" of Union Square who you should read more about here.)
The final variation was certainly the most thirst-quenching, with or without a little squirt of lime and a club soda topper. Drew preferred the Jolly Rancher, and the initial watermelon-and-tequila iteration was my favorite. My sister would have been proud.
TIPS FOR LAZY AND CREATIVE BOOZERS
• The watermelon just happened to be what I had in the fridge. Don't be afraid to experiment with other kinds of fruit!
• A wooden citrus reamer is an inexpensive tool to juice lemons and limes without making a big mess.
• Drew suggested for presentation's sake that I strain the "fuzz" from the watermelon juice. The drinks got a little frothy on top, and would definitely have been cleaner, prettier, and maybe even more refreshing strained (sort of like an agua fresca). However, my sieve has been retired from the kitchen ever since I used it to clean the rocks from my fish's bowl. That's probably not the case in your kitchen, so try straining it for a smoother, fancier drink.
Jenni Avins mixes drinks in her New York kitchen, where she also writes about food, fashion, travel, and the arts for various magazines and websites. She makes videos too. Follow her on Twitter @jenniavins