Do you think of cantaloupe as a filler fruit? Think again. In Chef Lili Dagan’s latest cocktail, cantaloupe becomes the life of the party.
Somehow, this margarita is more than the sum of its parts. If you have a blender, the whole thing only takes a few minutes to make (ok, there’s some freezing time involved, but that just takes a little planning). At the end, you’re rewarded with a drink that’s not only refreshing, it’s downright festive.
Recipe: Cantaloupe Mint Margarita
Makes 1-2 servings, depending on what kind of day you’re having
1 whole cantaloupe
2 springs mint, plus more for garnish
2 oz tequila blanco
1 oz Curaçao triple sec
1 oz fresh lime juice
Lime wheels, spicy salt, and mint for garnish
1. Make your cantaloupe ice cubes. Locate the stem of the cantaloupe, and imagine a line going through the cantaloupe starting at the stem. Cut perpendicular to that line. Once cut, your melon will form two bowl-shaped halves. Scoop out and discard the seeds of both halves.
2. Use a melon baller or other spoon (if you don’t have a melon baller, a tablespoon will work well) to scoop your melon half into balls. Lay on a sheet pan. Make sure the balls don’t overlap, or they will stick. Lay sheet pan flat to freeze for at least 1 hour.
3. Take the remaining melon half and scoop out the flesh. Blend with leaves from 2 sprigs of mint. Reserve the rind of the melon, intact.
4. Place 1 tablespoon of spiced salt on a plate and roll the edge of the reserved melon rind through it. As you roll, salt should stick to the rind and form a salted rim. If it does not stick, lightly dampen the edge of the rind and try again.
5. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 8 oz of cantaloupe juice, 2 oz tequila blanco, 1 oz Curaçao triple sec, 1 oz fresh lime juice. Strain into the reserved melon half. Gently add your frozen cantaloupe ice cubes, some lime wheels, and a sprig of mint.