Watermelon: It’s the most refreshing part of the summer. It’s such a versatile fruit—even the often-overlooked rind can be pickled (page 198). Watermelon loves acidity to balance out its sweetness, and this recipe uses lemon to balance the natural sugars in the melon. Stir the lemonade well before serving to distribute the pulp since it settles to the bottom upon sitting. If you can’t find yellow watermelon, the pink kind will do.
- 4 cups water
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons juice (from 1 lemon)
- 5 mint sprigs
- 1 small yellow watermelon
- 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 basil sprigs
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 cups (16 ounces) sparkling water
- 4 lime wedges
- Bring 4 cups water, lemon zest, and 1 mint sprig to a boil in a saucepan over medium. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
- Meanwhile, peel the watermelon and remove the rind. Cut the watermelon flesh into large chunks. Add the watermelon chunks and sugar to the water, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the mint sprig.
- Process the watermelon mixture with an immersion blender or regular blender until smooth. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
- Make 4 herb bouquets by tying 1 sprig of mint, basil, and thyme together with kitchen string.
- To serve, pour 1⁄2 cup of watermelon lemonade in each of 4 (8-ounce) glasses. Fill each glass three-fourths full with ice. Add 1 herb bouquet to each glass, and top with about 1⁄2 cup sparkling water. Garnish with lime wedges.
Note: The amount of watermelon juice can vary from watermelon to watermelon. When making lemonade, you may have to adjust the amount of water added. Take your time, and note the viscosity of the mixture as it is pureed.
Serve with: This is a seasonal beverage and can be served with any seasonal item spring, summer, and early fall.
Excerpted from Soul by Chef Todd Richards. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.