Watermelon Lavender Agua Fresca

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Fall may be in full force when you check the calendar but temps are climbing to the high eighties here in San Diego this week. Just when we thought we could feel a slight chill in the air, another heat wave has emerged. With the temps soaring and the sunshine going strong, I thought I’d share one last summer-inspired cocktail recipe. I’ve had this one up my sleeve for a while now, waiting for just the right moment! This drink recipe was originally inspired by a cocktail we had at our pool party at the Westgate hotel earlier in the summer.
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I love the combo of lavender with watermelon because it makes something so familiar and nostalgic feel really elegant. The touch of lavender syrup elevates the juiciness of the melon while the soda water float keeps it from being too saccharine. This drink may require a bit of prep but it’s so worth it. Incorporating watermelon into cocktails is ideal because the bright pink flesh happens to be a surprisingly versatile cocktail ingredient. Thanks to it’s high water content, watermelon turns into a thin, manageable liquid when processed and strained. When berries are treated similarly, for instance, there’s so much pulp and not a whole lot of useful liquid left over.
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Ingredients:
  • 2 oz your favorite gin (or vodka)
  • 3 oz fresh watermelon juice, directions to follow
  • .5 oz lavender syrup, recipe to follow
  • .25 oz lemon juice
  • soda water to top, optional
  • lavender sprig to garnish, optional
Directions:
  1. For the syrup, bring 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup superfine sugar and 1 tsp culinary lavender buds to a simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolves, 1 minute. Let steep while the syrup cools to room temp and strain; discard lavender buds.
  2. For the watermelon juice, blend 1/2 cup watermelon chunks in a blender until smooth. Strain and discard pulp.
  3. To finish the drink combine gin, watermelon juice, a squeeze of lemon, lavender syrup and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and top with a splash of soda water if desired. Garnish with a lavender sprig.

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{ photos & styling by Caroline Potter }

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