Sparkling Rosé Melon Cooler with Lavender


by Lynne Vea / PCC Natural Markets Chef

Posted on July 2, 2011 at 2:11 PM

(Makes 4-6 drinks)

1 cup seedless watermelon chunks
1 cup cantaloupe or other juicy melon chunks
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon dried culinary lavender (or substitute 1 tablespoon fresh lavender petals)
1 bottle sparkling rosé wine

Combine the melons with the lemon juice, honey and lavender in a blender and puree well. Transfer the fruit mixture to a pitcher and chill until ready to serve. Before serving,  slowly add the rosé wine to your taste. (About 2/3 of the bottle.)

Cool Cucumber Mint Sparkler
(Makes 2-3 drinks)

2 large cucumbers, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 cup lime Perrier or other lime flavored sparkling water

Puree the cucumbers in a food processor or blender and strain the juice. You have at least 1 cup.
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan and simmer just until the sugar melts, about 1 minute. Let cool. This is your simple syrup.

Combine the cucumber juice, simple syrup, lime juice, mint and jalapenoo and chill until ready to serve. Either pour or strain into glasses and top with Perrier.

Recipe developed by Lynne Vea

Some guidelines for drinks from the garden:

-The basic formula: Blend perfectly ripe fruits or vegetables with tender herbs or blossoms, citrus juice and your favorite sweetener in your blender or food processor and finish with a splash of something sparkling like dry soda, sparkling cider or a sparkling wine.

-Make a batch of simple syrup and keep it in the fridge to blend with lemon or lime juice for your own lemonade or to bring out the punch in other fruits. Recipe: 1 part unrefined sugar to 1 part water. Simmer to dissolve the sugar and chill.

-Try steeping woody herbs like lemon thyme, rosemary or sage in hot simple syrup for 30 minutes.  Strain out the herbs and chill the flavored syrup to use in your creations!

Some more suggestions for delightful garden drink combinations:

· Blueberries, strawberries and/or blackberries with fresh basil, lime juice and honey. Finish with sparkling cider.
· Peaches or nectarines with lemon juice, lemon thyme infused simple syrup  and rose petals. Finish with Moscato d'Asti or your favorite sparkling wine.
· Apricots, (peeled) with fennel fronds, lemon and honey. Finish with pomegranate dry soda.
· Let your imagination guide you!